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MFA Images: Childhood

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  • Young Girls Playing Cards

    Japanese
    Late Meiji era - Taisho era
    Artist Unknown, Japanese

    Place of Creation: Japan

    Description

    Provenance

    Leonard A. Lauder Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Fractional gift of Lauder (Accession date: March 20, 2002).

    Credit Line

    Leonard A. Lauder Collection of Japanese Postcards

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 8.8 x 13.8 cm (3 7/16 x 5 7/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2002.17705

    Medium or Technique

    Collotype with hand coloring; ink on card stock

    Not On View

    Collections

    Asia, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Postcards

    More Info
  • Girl Playing with Paper Balloon

    Japanese
    Late Meiji era - Taisho era
    Artist Unknown, Japanese, Printer Yamaka Book Store (Yamaka shoten) (Japanese)

    Place of Creation: Japan

    Description

    Provenance

    ex. Jaeger Collection Leonard A. Lauder Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Fractional gift of Lauder (Accession date: March 20, 2002).

    Credit Line

    Leonard A. Lauder Collection of Japanese Postcards

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 13.8 x 8.8 cm (5 7/16 x 3 7/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2002.7383

    Medium or Technique

    Collotype with hand coloring; ink on card stock

    Not On View

    Collections

    Asia, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Postcards

    More Info
  • Baby Playing with Soba Noodles

    Japanese
    Late Meiji era - Taisho era
    Artist Unknown, Japanese

    Place of Creation: Japan

    Description

    Provenance

    Ex. Jaeger Collection Leonard A. Lauder Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Fractional gift of Lauder (Accession date: March 20, 2002).

    Credit Line

    Leonard A. Lauder Collection of Japanese Postcards

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 13.8 x 8.8 cm (5 7/16 x 3 7/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2002.6912

    Medium or Technique

    Photographic reproduction with handcoloring on card

    Not On View

    Collections

    Asia, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Postcards

    More Info
  • Boys Playing with Camera

    Japanese
    Late Meiji era - Taisho era
    Artist Unknown, Japanese, Publisher Tonboya (Japanese)

    Place of Creation: Japan

    Description

    Provenance

    ex. Jaeger Collection Leonard A. Lauder Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Fractional gift of Lauder (Accession date: March 20, 2002).

    Credit Line

    Leonard A. Lauder Collection of Japanese Postcards

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 8.8 x 13.8 cm (3 7/16 x 5 7/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2002.7400

    Medium or Technique

    Collotype with hand coloring; ink on card stock

    Not On View

    Collections

    Asia, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Postcards

    More Info
  • Women Playing a Blind Game in a Garden

    Japanese
    Late Meiji era - Taisho era
    Artist Unknown, Japanese

    Place of Creation: Japan

    Description

    Provenance

    Leonard A. Lauder Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Fractional gift of Lauder (Accession date: March 20, 2002).

    Credit Line

    Leonard A. Lauder Collection of Japanese Postcards

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 8.8 x 13.8 cm (3 7/16 x 5 7/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2002.17763

    Medium or Technique

    Collotype with hand coloring; ink on card stock

    Not On View

    Collections

    Asia, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Postcards

    More Info
  • Young Girl in Kimono Playing with a Ball

    Japanese
    Taisho-early Showa era
    Artist Unknown, Japanese

    Place of Creation: Japan

    Description

    Provenance

    ex. Jaeger Collection Leonard A. Lauder Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Fractional gift of Lauder (Accession date: March 20, 2002).

    Credit Line

    Leonard A. Lauder Collection of Japanese Postcards

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 13.8 x 8.8 cm (5 7/16 x 3 7/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2002.18634

    Medium or Technique

    Color lithograph; ink on card stock

    Not On View

    Collections

    Asia, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Postcards

    More Info
  • The Artist's Daughter Asleep (facing left)

    Sleeping Child

    about 1770
    Jean-Michel Moreau le Jeune (French, 1741–1814)

    Description

    Provenance

    Jules and Edmond de Goncourt, Paris by 1858; Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 15-17 February 1897, lot 192; purchased by Colnaghi for John P. Heseltine, London; Walter Burns, London; Mortimer Schiff, New York; Christie's, London, 24 June 1938, lot 46; Wildenstein & Co., New York; Forsyth Wickes (1876-1964, New York, Paris, Rhode Island) purchased 3 January 1948 ; acquired by bequest 1965

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Forsyth Wickes—The Forsyth Wickes Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Framed: 34.9 x 40 x 5.1 cm (13 3/4 x 15 3/4 x 2 in.) Sheet: 10.2 x 15.1 cm (4 x 5 15/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    65.2593

    Medium or Technique

    Pen and black ink with brush and gray wash over charcoal

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Drawings

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  • The Artist's Daughter Asleep (facing right)

    Sleeping Child

    about 1770
    Jean-Michel Moreau le Jeune (French, 1741–1814)

    Description

    Provenance

    Jules and Edmond de Goncourt, Paris by 1858; Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 15-17 February 1897, lot 192; purchased by Colnaghi for John P. Heseltine, London; Walter Burns, London; Mortimer Schiff, New York; Christie's, London, 24 June 1938, lot 46; Wildenstein & Co., New York; Forsyth Wickes (1876-1964, New York, Paris, Rhode Island) purchased 3 January 1948 ; acquired by bequest 1965

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Forsyth Wickes—The Forsyth Wickes Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    Framed: 34.9 x 40 x 5.1 cm (13 3/4 x 15 3/4 x 2 in.) Sheet: 10.3 x 13.5 cm (4 1/16 x 5 5/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    65.2592

    Medium or Technique

    Pen and black ink with brush and gray wash over charcoal

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Drawings

    More Info
  • Kewpie Playing Tennis

    Japanese
    Taisho-early Showa era
    Artist Unknown, Japanese, Publisher Yamaguchi Seikyokudô

    Place of Creation: Japan

    Description

    Provenance

    ex. Jaeger Collection Leonard A. Lauder Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Fractional gift of Lauder (Accession date: March 20, 2002).

    Credit Line

    Leonard A. Lauder Collection of Japanese Postcards

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 13.8 x 8.8 cm (5 7/16 x 3 7/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2002.18636

    Medium or Technique

    Color lithograph; ink on card stock

    Not On View

    Collections

    Asia, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Postcards

    More Info
  • Jenny

    about 1925

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower right: George Luks; Reverse: "Jenny" by George Luks

    Provenance

    The artist; with Frank K. M. Rehn, New York; to John T. Spaulding, Boston, 1925; to MFA, 1948, bequest of John T. Spaulding.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of John T. Spaulding

    Details

    Dimensions

    91.44 x 63.5 cm (36 x 25 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.573

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

    Collections

    Americas

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • Girl with a Pink Bonnet

    1865
    William Perkins Babcock (American, 1826–1899)

    Description

    William Babcock was one of the first of a group of mid-nineteenth-century Bostonians to seek an artistic education in France. He studied with the Parisian master Thomas Couture and then moved to Barbizon to work with Jean-Francois Millet. Babcock introduced fellow New Englander William Morris Hunt to Millet about 1853; the two Americans so admired the French artist that they both imitated his style and worked hard to popularize his art in the United States.
    Babcock’s “Girl with a Pink Bonnet,” painted in France, combines the style of Millet’s early romantic paintings of young women of the 1840s and his tender images of peasant girls from the 1850s. The facial features of Babcock’s girl (probably a hired model) resemble those of the peasant children Millet painted; the delicacy of her expression is underscored by Babcock’s simple, intimate composition and the softness of his technique. Babcock’s contemporaries admired him for his color. In his 1853 book, “The Art Idea,” esteemed critic James Jackson Jarves wrote of Babcock, “His sense of color…is an infusion direct from original life. It is a madness, a wild passion, a splendid frenzy.” Babcock’s rich, high-keyed yet harmonious oranges and pale pinks are especially effective in this picture, for they convey the young girl’s sweetness, charm, and innocence.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Inscription

    Lower left: WP Babcock '65 [WP in monogram]

    Provenance

    The artist; Miss Emma E. Hisks, Milton, Mass.; to MFA, 1929, gift of Miss Emma E. Hicks.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Miss Emma E. Hicks

    Details

    Dimensions

    35.24 x 27.3 cm (13 7/8 x 10 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    RES.29.48

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

    Collections

    Americas

    Classifications

    Paintings

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  • Miss Ida Mason

    1878
    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description

    Inscription

    Center left: WMH./1878. [WMH in monogram]

    Provenance

    The artist; Miss Ida Mason; with Copley Gallery, Boston, 1932; to MFA, 1932, purchased for $1,500.

    Credit Line

    The Hayden Collection—Charles Henry Hayden Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    104.46 x 73.98 cm (41 1/8 x 29 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    32.127

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

    Collections

    Americas

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • The Jewel Box

    English
    Arthur Boyd Houghton (English, 1836–1875)

    Description

    The model was Cecily, who sat for the picture at 162 King Henry’s Rd. Hampstead.

    Inscription

    Lower right in ink: ABH. verso in graphite: Houghton

    Provenance

    Thomas Agnew & Sons, London; from whom purchased November 13, 1963 Mary L. Smith Fund

    Credit Line

    Mary L. Smith Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 17.6 x 11.9 cm (6 15/16 x 4 11/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    63.1630

    Medium or Technique

    Watercolor on paper

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Watercolors

    More Info
  • Leopoldo De' Medici as a Child, 1617

    A. Galeotti (Italian, 19th century), Copied after Tiberio di Tito

    Description

    Provenance

    Bigelow Collection; acquired December 20, 1926

    Credit Line

    William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Macandrew 147

    Dimensions

    44 x 56 cm (17 5/16 x 22 1/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    RES.26.34

    Medium or Technique

    Watercolor on paper

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Watercolors

    More Info
  • Young Girl, in Oval Vignette

    1845–61
    Southworth and Hawes (American, 1843–62)

    Description

    Markings

    U. l. plate maker mark: "Christofle". Spirit of Fact #13, without "Christofle" to left of scales.

    Provenance

    Edward Southworth Hawes; gift to MFA December 9, 1943.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Edward Southworth Hawes in memory of his father Josiah Johnson Hawes

    Details

    Dimensions

    Plate: 21.7 x 16.7 cm (8 9/16 x 6 9/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    43.1487

    Medium or Technique

    Photograph, daguerreotype

    Not On View

    Collections

    Americas, Photography

    Classifications

    Photographs

    More Info
  • Girl Seated

    1880
    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)

    Description

    Inscription

    In white watercolor, l.r.: HOMER

    Markings

    Watermark: Saint Mars (in script)

    Provenance

    Probably sold through Doll & Richards, Boston; Francis Bartlett; his daughter Caroline Bartlett Sears (Mrs. Herbert M. Sears); their daughter Phyllis Sears Tuckerman (Mrs. Bayard Tuckerman, Jr) died 10/2/1965; Private collection, MA; gift to MFA, June 1996.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Anonymous Donor in memory of Phyllis S. Tuckerman

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 46.7 x 37.7cm (18 3/8 x 14 13/16 in.) Framed: 75.6 x 65.4 cm (29 3/4 x 25 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    1996.136

    Medium or Technique

    Charcoal and opaque white watercolor on light brown paper

    Not On View

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Drawings

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  • "Bo-Peep" (Girl with Shepherd's Crook Seated by a Tree)

    1878
    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)

    Description

    Inscription

    Signed and dated in pen and black ink l.r.: "Homer ‘78" Verso: various sketches (by Homer?) and miscellaneous notations.

    Provenance

    John T. Spaulding (1870-1948), Boston; bequest to MFA, June 3, 1948.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of John T. Spaulding

    Details

    Dimensions

    17.8 x 21cm (7 x 8 1/4in.)

    Accession Number

    48.724

    Medium or Technique

    Opaque watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Not On View

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Watercolors

    More Info
  • The Colgate Family

    American
    1866
    Johannes Adam Simon Oertel (American (born in Furth, Bavaria), 1823–1909)

    Description

    In The Colgate Family, German immigrant Johannes Oertel—an able painter, engraver, and art teacher—painted a portrait that presented a hopeful vision for the future of his adopted country. Oertel showed in this comfortable interior that the prospects of the United States, which had suffered great destruction and loss of life during the Civil War, rested upon a new generation of strong young men.
    The portrait depicts a wealthy manufacturer and his family in their Orange, New Jersey, mansion. Samuel Colgate is shown here with his wife, Elizabeth (niece of the artist and inventor Samuel F. B. Morse [48.455]), and their four sons, who range in age from three to twelve. A portrait of Colgate’s father, William, overlooks the family from the wall above the fireplace. Colgate entertains his youngest son with an improvised hand puppet, while Elizabeth sits thoughtfully with her knitting in her lap. The two youngest boys wear dresses of the type worn by all small children, while Gilbert, at age seven, is old enough to be clothed in the comfortable knickers worn by boys. The oldest son, Richard, sitting on the carpet, is attired in the cadet uniform of a military academy. These young boys not only create a scene of happy family life, but by their vitality also forecast the nation’s return to health and prosperity.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet L. Comey, Amerikakaigakodomo no sekai [Children in American art], exh. cat. (Nagoya, Japan: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007).

    Signed

    Signed and dated lower right

    Provenance

    1866, Samuel Colgate (1822-1897), Orange, New Jersey; descended in the Colgate family to Mr. and Mrs. Gaynor, Greenwich, Conn.; 2001, consigned to The Greenwich Gallery, Greenwich, Conn.; 2002, sold by The Greenwich Gallery to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 27, 2002)

    Credit Line

    Museum purchase by subscription in honor of Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., John Moors Cabot Curator of American Paintings, 1977-2000 and M. Theresa B. Hopkins Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    85.1 x 68.6 cm (33.5 x 27 in.)

    Accession Number

    2002.20

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    David and Stacey Goel Gallery (Gallery 239)

    Collections

    Americas

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • Roasting Apples

    1868
    Joseph Decker (American (born in Germany), 1853–1924 American)

    Description

    Although many late nineteenth-century American artists portrayed poor city children in a sentimental manner that glossed over the harshness of their lives, Joseph Decker depicted the reality of poverty. Decker was born in Germany, the son of a carpenter, and immigrated to the United States in 1867 at the age of fourteen. The date in the lower right corner indicates that Decker produced this painting the next year, when he was only fifteen. The meticulous realism, in particular the vivid rendering of a variety of textures, shows Decker to have been extraordinarily precocious.
    In this image, a youth dressed in ragged, dirty clothing sits on bundles of wood and roasts apples over a coal fire. An intriguing array of objects-a newspaper, tile, rusticated humidor, paint brushes, and the artist’s calling card-are strewn across the mantelpiece. Artists generally placed calling cards in their pictures to draw attention to their skills; the inclusion of a card here suggests that the figure may represent the young Decker himself, struggling to earn a living in his newly adopted country. Or he may be a newsboy the artist hired to sit for him. Whether the youth is a model or a self-portrait, in this image Decker evoked the loneliness of poverty and the hunger that such a modest meal would not assuage.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Inscription

    Lower right: J. Decker. 68.

    Provenance

    The artist; private collection, New England; with Skinner, Inc., Boston, November 5, 1993, lot 59; to MFA, Boston, anonymous gift.

    Credit Line

    Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously in honor of Carol Troyen

    Details

    Dimensions

    43.18 x 35.56 cm (17 x 14 in.)

    Accession Number

    1993.944

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

    Collections

    Americas

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • Four Children at Dinner

    Japanese
    Late Meiji era - Taisho era
    Artist Unknown, Japanese

    Place of Creation: Japan

    Description

    Provenance

    Ex. Jaeger Collection Leonard A. Lauder Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Fractional gift of Lauder (Accession date: March 20, 2002).

    Credit Line

    Leonard A. Lauder Collection of Japanese Postcards

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 8.8 x 13.8 cm (3 7/16 x 5 7/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2002.6913

    Medium or Technique

    Photographic reproduction with handcoloring on card

    Not On View

    Collections

    Asia, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Postcards

    More Info
  • Italian Peasant Boy

    1866
    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description

    Italian Peasant Boy is the most refined and idealized of several paintings of Italian models by Hunt. This one was made in Paris, probably in the fall of 1866, and was exhibited in October 1867 at the Exposition Universelle under the title Petit Italien. It exemplifies the solitary, rustic Italian youth, a subject that had become almost an international icon in Hunt’s time, especially for artists of Romantic-realist tendencies.
    This composition is a variant on a well-worn theme explored by both American and European painters. Some of the sensuality and precision of Hunt’s picture are borrowed from the French academic manner, that of William Bouguereau[08.186] in particular. A preparatory charcoal drawing, Italian Boy [50.3917], which shows the model with longer hair, a cape, and staff, suggests that Hunt first intended to portray the boy as a shepherd.

    Hunt did not need to be in Italy to be reminded of Italian peasants or to paint from Italian models. He kept Italian peasant costumes in his Boston studio and young Italian males were themselves a common sight in most major cities by the 1860s. Migrants from the mountain towns of Tuscany and elsewhere, they engaged themselves as artisans and peddlers before returning home. These young men, aloof from the mainstream of city life, may have inspired Hunt to create an homage to the transient, self-reliant, worldly innocent.

    This text has been adapted from Diana Strazdes in The Lure of Italy: American Artists and the Italian Experience, 1760–1914, by Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., et al., exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts in association with Harry N. Abrams, 1992).

    Inscription

    Lower left: WMHunt./1866 [WMH in monogram]

    Provenance

    1866, the artist. By 1873, Francis Skinner, Boston; by 1924, by descent to a cousin of Eliza Gardner (Mrs. Francis) Skinner, George Peabody Gardner (1855-1939), Boston; 1929, gift of George Peabody Gardner to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 5, 1929)

    Credit Line

    Gift of George Peabody Gardner

    Details

    Dimensions

    99.06 x 64.77 cm (39 x 25 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    29.1117

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Penny and Jeff Vinik Gallery (Gallery 233)

    Collections

    Americas

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • Girls Picking Flowers in a Meadow

    about 1890
    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919)

    Description

    Renoir spent the summer of 1890 at the country house of fellow Impressionist Berthe Morisot and her husband Eugène Manet, Edouard Manet’s brother. Renoir asked their daughter, Julie, to pose for him, along with her fair-haired cousin, Jeanne Gobillard. Renoir gives the girls—their bonnets elaborately ruffled and ribboned—the fanciful air of shepherdesses in a rococo pastoral, taking his cue from the 18th-century artist François Boucher and his airy, make-believe scenes. With its flowering sapling at left, the picture also reads as an allegory of budding maturity.

    Inscription

    Lower right: Renoir

    Provenance

    February 3, 1892, sold by the artist to Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York (stock no. 2048); 1912, sold by Durand-Ruel to Hannah Marcy Edwards (d. 1929), Boston; 1929, by inheritance to her sister, Grace M. Edwards (d. 1938), Boston; 1939, bequest of Hannah Marcy Edwards to the MFA [see note 1]. (Accession Date: October 11, 1939) NOTES: [1] Siblings Robert (d. 1924), Hannah (d. 1929), and Grace (d. 1938) Edwards were each collectors of art, who seemed to have had joint ownership of the objects in their possession. When Robert died, he bequeathed his collection to the MFA in memory of their mother, Juliana Cheney Edwards. In 1925, after his death, part of his collection was acquired by the Museum, and the remainder went to his sisters, with the understanding that the objects would ultimately be left to the MFA in the collection begun in memory of their mother. The collections of Hannah and Grace were left to the MFA in 1939, following Grace's death. It is not always possible to determine exactly which paintings each sibling had owned.

    Credit Line

    Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    65.1 x 81.0 cm (25 5/8 x 31 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    39.675

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • Oil Sketch of a Young Boy

    about 1895
    Abbott Handerson Thayer (American, 1849–1921)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower left: A.H Thayer

    Provenance

    The artist; Misses Aimee and Rosamund Lamb; to MFA, 1993, gift of the Misses Aimee and Rosamund Lamb.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Miss Aimée and Miss Rosamond Lamb

    Details

    Dimensions

    43.18 x 27.94 cm (17 x 11 in.)

    Accession Number

    1993.161

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    Not On View

    Collections

    Americas

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • Stephen Greene

    1924
    Robert Earle Henri (American, 1865–1929)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower right: Robert Henri; Reverse: 202/M/Robert Henri/PORTRAIT OF STEPHEN GREENE/N.Y. City/DEC 31 1924

    Provenance

    The artist; to Charlotte Nichols (Mrs. Edwin Farnham) Greene, Boston, the sitter's mother; to Stephen and Janet C. Greene, the sitter and his wife, 1957; to estate of Stephen Greene, West Dover, Vermont; to Janet C (Mrs. Stephen) Greene; to MFA, 1986, gift of Mrs. Stephen Greene.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Stephen Greene

    Details

    Dimensions

    60.96 x 50.8 cm (24 x 20 in.)

    Accession Number

    1986.971

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

    Collections

    Americas

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • Girls with Berries

    1867
    Louis Lang (American, 1814–1893)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower left: L LANG./1867.

    Provenance

    The artist; Amelia Peabody; to MFA, 1985, bequest of Amelia Peabody.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Amelia Peabody

    Details

    Dimensions

    51.43 x 40.32 cm (20 1/4 x 15 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1985.408

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

    Collections

    Americas

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • Coco (Claude Renoir)

    1910
    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919)

    Description

    Inscription

    Stamped, lower left: Renoir

    Provenance

    F. Valentine Dudensing (b. 1901), New York; probably by 1948, sold by Dudensing to George Putnam (b. 1889) and Katherine Harte (Mrs. George) Putnam (b. 1891), Boston [see note 1]; 1973, gift of Mrs. George Putnam to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 10, 1973) NOTES: [1] According to information in the MFA curatorial file, Mr. Putnam acquired this from Valentine Dudensing. He operated Dudensing Galleries in New York, later known as the Valentine Gallery, which closed in 1948. The painting was first lent to the MFA in 1964.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. George Putnam

    Details

    Dimensions

    55 x 46.4 cm (21 5/8 x 18 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    1973.513

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • Margaret Gibbs

    g
    1670
    Freake-Gibbs painter

    Description

    Not long after Boston was settled, a wealthy merchant named Robert Gibbs commissioned three paintings of his young children. They are among the finest of the few extant portraits made in New England in the seventeenth century. The artist who painted Margaret Gibbs, the eldest at seven, and her brothers—Robert [69.1227], age four and a half, and Henry, age one and a half (Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, Charleston, West Virginia)—is unknown. However, it is thought that the same artist created likenesses of John and Elizabeth Freake and their baby Mary (in two portraits now at the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts) in 1674. The artist is thus known as the Freake-Gibbs painter and is considered one of the most skilled portraitists of the seventeenth-century colonies, possessing an exceptional sense of design and an admirable feel for color. Probably trained in provincial England, the Freake-Gibbs painter worked in a flat style derived from Elizabethan art, which emphasized color and pattern. As was customary for portraits at the time, the children appear like adults in pose and manner.

    Robert Gibbs, the father, was the fourth son of Sir Henry Gibbs. With Sir Henry’s title and estate destined to pass to his eldest son, Robert opted to make his own fortune in the colonies, emigrating from England to Boston in 1658. He married Elizabeth Sheafe of Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1660; in the same year, Elizabeth received a considerable inheritance from her grandfather. Two years later, the couple began construction of a sizeable home on Fort Hill; built at an estimated cost of £3,000, it was one of the most expensive houses in seventeenth-century Boston. Wealth also allowed the Gibbses to commission portraits of their three children in 1670. The depictions of Margaret and her brothers in all their finery are evidence of both the materialism and the prosperity of an early Boston family.

    In the portrayal of Margaret, the Freake-Gibbs painter meticulously renders the seven-year-old’s lace, needlework, silver necklace, and red drawstrings and bows. Her sleeves have the single slash allowed by strict Puritan sumptuary laws, rules intended to regulate family expenditures and thus prevent people from wasting needed income on extravagant personal ornamentation. Such finery was permitted by Massachusetts law only if the man of the house possessed either a liberal education or sufficient annual income to justify the expense. Margaret’s fan indicates her gender; children of both sexes were dressed similarly until the age of six or seven, and an attribute was used to differentiate between images of boys and girls.

    The pattern on the floor in both portraits is either black-and-white tile or, more likely, a wooden floor or floor cloth painted to simulate tiling. This checkerboard floor, the dark neutral background, and the inscription of the year and ages of the sitters are indications of seventeenth-century Dutch influence on English and subsequently American art. The period frame of the picture is painted black and is made from eastern white American pine, thus indicating that it was crafted in New England.

    This text was adapted and expanded by Cody Hartley from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, Amerika kaiga kodomo no sekai [Children in American art], exh. cat. (Nagoya, Japan: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007), and from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting[http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Inscription

    Upper right: AE 7 A 1670

    Provenance

    Henry Gibbs (brother of the sitter), Boston; by descent to his daughter, Margaret Gibbs (1669-1771); her husband, Rev. Nathaniel Appleton, Cambridge, Mass. By 1934, by descent within the Appleton family to Ethelind Parker Appleton Smith (Mrs. Alexander Quarrier Smith), Charleston, West Virginia; by 1965, by descent to her daughter, Elsie Quarrier Smith Giltinan (Mrs. David M. Giltinan), Charleston; 1995, bequest of Elsie Q. Giltinan to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 13, 1995)

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Elsie Q. Giltinan

    Details

    Dimensions

    102.87 x 84.14 cm (40 1/2 x 33 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1995.800

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Manning House (Gallery LG36)

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  • Morris Hunt

    1857
    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description

    Provenance

    The artist; to Louisa D. (Mrs. William Morris) Hunt, wife of the artist; to Paul Hunt, Elinor Hunt Diederich, and Enid Hunt Slater, her children; descended in family; to MFA, 2000, partial gift of WIlliam Morris Hunt II.

    Credit Line

    Partial gift of William Morris Hunt II

    Details

    Dimensions

    37.15 x 33.02 cm (14 5/8 x 13 in.)

    Accession Number

    2000.1220

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Girls on a Cliff

    1881
    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)

    Description

    Inscription

    Signed and dated in green watercolor l.l.: "Winslow Homer / 1881". Verso: miscellaneous notations.

    Provenance

    David P. Kimball; bequest to MFA, Nov. 1923

    Credit Line

    Bequest of David P. Kimball in memory of his wife Clara Bertram Kimball

    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 32.2 x 48.5 cm (12 11/16 x 19 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    23.522

    Medium or Technique

    Opaque and transparent watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Not On View

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  • Two Boys Checking the Contents of a Basket

    1869
    Artist Pierre Edouard Frère (French, 1819–1886 French)

    Description

    Signed

    Recto lower left in black crayon: Ed. Frère. 69.

    Provenance

    Mr. and Mrs. Edward Wheelwright, Massachusetts; acquired by bequest April 1913

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Mrs. Edward Wheelwright

    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 29.4 x 23.4 cm (11 9/16 x 9 3/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    13.470

    Medium or Technique

    Black crayon with colored washes

    Not On View

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  • Teaching the Dog

    Jacobus Hendrikus Maris (Dutch, 1837–1899)

    Description

    Signed

    Lower right: J. Maris

    Provenance

    Acquired May 1899

    Credit Line

    Abbott Lawrence Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    32.4 x 22.9 cm (12 3/4 x 9 in.)

    Accession Number

    99.3

    Medium or Technique

    Watercolor on paper

    Not On View

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  • Eugenia: Head of a Roman Girl

    1879
    Elihu Vedder (American, 1836–1923)

    Description

    Inscription

    Upper right: Elihu Vedder/1879

    Provenance

    1879, the artist; 1880, with Williams and Everett, Boston; 1880, sold by Williams and Everett to Thomas G. Appleton (1812-1884), Boston; 1884, by descent to his nephew, Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow (1845-1921), Boston; 1923; bequest of Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 1, 1923)

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow

    Details

    Dimensions

    29.21 x 25.08 cm (11 1/2 x 9 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    23.488

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    On View

    Jan and Warren Adelson Gallery (Gallery 221)

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  • Dinner Party (Bansan kai) (from an unidentified series)

    Japanese
    Taisho-early Showa era
    Uzaki Sumikazu (Japanese, 1889–1954 Japanese), Publisher Bungandô (Japanese)

    Place of Creation: Japan

    Description

    Provenance

    Ex. Jaeger Collection Leonard A. Lauder Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Fractional gift of Lauder (Accession date: March 20, 2002).

    Credit Line

    Leonard A. Lauder Collection of Japanese Postcards

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 13.8 x 8.8 cm (5 7/16 x 3 7/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2002.1318

    Medium or Technique

    Color lithograph; ink and color on paper

    Not On View

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    Asia, Prints and Drawings

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    Postcards

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  • Children on the Seashore, Guernsey

    about 1883
    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919)

    Description

    On a bay ringed by cliffs, fashionable young Parisians enjoy the sun and sea. This scene was inspired by the beaches of Guernsey, an island in the English Channel where Renoir spent the summer of 1883 sketching. Although loosely defined (and unfinished at its right and upper edges), this picture wasn’t painted en plein air, outdoors on a Guernsey beach, but back in Renoir’s Paris studio, from studies he had made during his stay on the Channel.

    Inscription

    Stamped, lower right: Renoir

    Provenance

    Sold by the estate of the artist to the Galérie Barbazanges, Paris (stock no. 11756) [see note 1]; sold by Barbazanges to Howard Young Galleries, New York (stock no. 2020) [see note 2]; November 6, 1922, sold by Howard Young to John Taylor Spaulding (b. 1870 - d. 1948), Boston; 1948, bequest of John Taylor Spaulding to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 3, 1948) NOTES: [1] According to a label on the reverse of the painting. [2] According to a letter from Howard Young to Angelica Rudenstine of the MFA (December 8, 1961).

    Credit Line

    Bequest of John T. Spaulding

    Details

    Dimensions

    91.4 x 66.4 cm (36 x 26 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.594

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • John Oscar Kent and His Sister, Sarah Eliza Kent

    1844
    Samuel Lancaster Gerry (American, 1813–1891)

    Description

    Inscription

    Reverse: S.L. Gerry./Paint. 1844

    Provenance

    The artist; to John and Mary Kent, Charlestown, parents of the sitters; to John Oscar Kent, the sitter, their son; to Katharine A. Kent and N. Pauline Kent, his daughters; to MFA, 1943, gift of Katharine A. Kent and N. Pauline Kent.

    Credit Line

    Gift in memory of their father, the sitter, by Miss Katharine A. Kent and Miss N. Pauline Kent

    Details

    Dimensions

    76.52 x 63.5 cm (30 1/8 x 25 in.)

    Accession Number

    43.29

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Algerian Girl

    1881
    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919)

    Description

    Renoir traveled to the French colony of Algeria twice in 1881, seeking the dazzling light and exotic subject matter made famous (and marketable) by Eugène Delacroix, a great Romantic painter, some fifty years before. Frustrated by the reluctance of Muslim women to pose for him, Renoir often hired Pieds-Noirs—French nationals living in Algeria—to pose as models, dressing them in native costumes and darkening their hair with his brush.

    Inscription

    Lower right: Renoir 81

    Provenance

    May 22, 1882, sold by the artist to Durand-Ruel, Paris; from Durand-Ruel, Paris, to Durand-Ruel, New York; October 20, 1913, sold by Durand-Ruel, New York to Hannah Marcy Edwards (d. 1929), Boston; 1929, by inheritance to her sister, Grace M. Edwards (d. 1938), Boston; 1939, bequest of Hannah Marcy Edwards to the MFA [see note 1]. (Accession Date: October 11, 1939) NOTES: [1] Siblings Robert (d. 1924), Hannah (d. 1929), and Grace (d. 1938) Edwards were each collectors of art, who seemed to have had joint ownership of the objects in their possession. When Robert died, he bequeathed his collection to the MFA in memory of their mother, Juliana Cheney Edwards. In 1925, after his death, part of his collection was acquired by the Museum, and the remainder went to his sisters, with the understanding that the objects would ultimately be left to the MFA in the collection begun in memory of their mother. The collections of Hannah and Grace were left to the MFA in 1939, following Grace's death. It is not always possible to determine exactly which paintings each sibling had owned.

    Credit Line

    Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection

    Details

    Dimensions

    50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)

    Accession Number

    39.677

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Jacques Bergeret as a Child

    about 1880
    Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919)

    Description

    Inscription

    Upper right: Renoir

    Provenance

    Paul Rosenberg and Co., Paris; sold by Rosenberg to M. Knoedler and Co., Paris (?); sold by Knoedler to the Howard Young Gallery, New York; November 20, 1923, sold by Howard Young to John Taylor Spaulding (b. 1870 - d. 1948), Boston; 1948, bequest of John Taylor Spaulding to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 3, 1948)

    Credit Line

    Bequest of John T. Spaulding

    Details

    Dimensions

    41 x 32.1 cm (16 1/8 x 12 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.595

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Portrait of a Child

    Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French, 1725–1805)

    Description

    Provenance

    1771, Jean-Baptiste Pigalle (b. 1714 - d. 1785), Paris [see note 1]. Possibly François-Alexandre Charles, Comte de Perregaux (b. 1791 - d. 1838), Paris [see note 2]. Possibly Khalil Bey (b. 1831 - d. 1879), Paris; January 18, 1868, Khalil Bey sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, lot 83. Pushkin Museum, Moscow (inv. no. 824); 1921, sold to Mrs. Henry J. Pierce, New York; 1943, sold by Mrs. Pierce to Edwin Hale Abbot, Jr., Cambridge, MA; 1949, gift of Abbot to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 20, 1949) NOTES: [1] The painting was engraved in 1771 by Jean-Baptiste Lucien, at which time it was in the possession of the sculptor Pigalle. [2] The MFA painting has been tentatively identified as the "Tète d'enfant" attributed to Greuze in the Khalil Bey sale of 1868. Notes in the auction catalogue indicate that this painting had been in the collection of the Comte de Perregaux.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Edwin H. Abbot, Jr., in memory of his mother, Martha T. Abbot

    Details

    Dimensions

    40.7 x 32.7 cm (16 x 12 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    49.1145

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Girl and Friends Writing Letters, illustration for The Christmas Letter

    about 1905–07
    Wuanita Smith (American, 1866–1959 American)

    Description

    Inscription

    Upper right: W. Smith for The Christmas Letter.

    Provenance

    Phyllis J. Liebman, Jaffrey, NH; gift to MFA, October 1985.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Larry J. and Phyllis J. Liebman

    Details

    Dimensions

    36.51 x 33.02 cm (14 3/8 x 13 in.)

    Accession Number

    1985.764

    Medium or Technique

    Black chalk, red and black wash on illustration board

    Not On View

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  • The Christmas Tree, illustration for The Christmas Letter

    about 1905–07
    Wuanita Smith (American, 1866–1959 American)

    Description

    Inscription

    Upper left: W. Smith. for The Christmas Letter.

    Provenance

    Phyllis J. Liebman, Jaffrey, NH; gift to MFA, October 1985.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Larry J. and Phyllis J. Liebman

    Details

    Dimensions

    Image: 36.2 x 31.8 cm (14 1/4 x 12 1/2 in.) Sheet: 50.2 x 36.8 cm (19 3/4 x 14 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1985.762

    Medium or Technique

    Black chalk, red and black wash on illustration board

    Not On View

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  • Girl, Toys and Dogs Walking, illustration for The Christmas Letter

    About 1905–07
    Wuanita Smith (American, 1866–1959 American)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower right: W. Smith for the Christmas Letter.

    Provenance

    Phyllis J. Liebman, Jaffrey, NH; gift to MFA, October 1985.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Larry J. and Phyllis J. Liebman

    Details

    Dimensions

    36.83 x 33.02 cm (14 1/2 x 13 in.)

    Accession Number

    1985.763

    Medium or Technique

    Black chalk, red and black wash on illustration board

    Not On View

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  • The Green Dory

    1880
    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)

    Description

    Inscription

    Signed in dark green watercolor l.r.: "HOMER". Verso: miscellaneous notations.

    Provenance

    Lent by Dr. Arthur T. Cabot, Jan. 30, 1911. Returned March 11, 1911. Relent by Mrs. Arthur Tracy Cabot, June 28, 1938. Returned January 17, 1939. Bequest of Arthur Tracy Cabot, (Mrs. Cabot waiving life interest) November 12, 1942.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Dr. Arthur Tracy Cabot

    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 34.9 x 49.9 cm (13 3/4 x 19 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    42.538

    Medium or Technique

    Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper

    Not On View

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  • Alice Mary Hawes

    1853–54
    Southworth and Hawes (American, 1843–62)

    Description

    Markings

    U. r. plate maker mark: "Scovill Mfg. Co./Extra". Spirit of Fact #2.

    Provenance

    Edward Southworth Hawes; gift to MFA December 9, 1943.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Edward Southworth Hawes in memory of his father Josiah Johnson Hawes

    Details

    Dimensions

    Plate: 11 x 8.3 cm (4 5/16 x 3 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    43.1414

    Medium or Technique

    Photograph, daguerreotype

    Not On View

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    Americas, Photography

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    Photographs

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  • The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit

    1882
    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description

    The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit was painted in Paris in the autumn of 1882, one of a number of portraits of members of the American expatriate community that Sargent made in the French capital in the late 1870s and early 1880s. While the exact circumstances of this commission remain unknown, Sargent was a friend of the girls’ parents, Edward Darley Boit and Mary Louisa Cushing Boit [63.268]. Ned Boit was from Boston, a Harvard-trained lawyer who turned away from his profession in order to pursue a career as a painter [http://www.mfa.org/search/collections?artist=Edward%20Darley%20Boit]. His wife Mary Louisa, called Isa, was a vivacious and social woman who preferred Europe to America; her inheritance, a legacy of Boston’s China Trade, allowed the family to live abroad. They kept elegant quarters on the avenue de Friedland in the eighth arrondissement, a luxurious neighborhood much preferred by wealthy Americans. The foyer of their apartment served as the setting for Sargent’s portrait, a shadowy space in which the painter arranged the Boits’ four daughters: Mary Louisa (eight years old when Sargent painted her), Florence (age fourteen), Jane (twelve), and Julia (four).
    While Ned and Isa may have initially approached Sargent to make a traditional portrait, they supported his ambition to create something more unusual, a painting that is half a portrait and half an interior scene. Each of the girls is presented individually, but the features of two are obscured, an attribute antithetical to conventional portraiture and one that, combined with the lack of connection between the girls, stymied critics when the painting was first displayed. Its unusual format was inspired by the art of both the past and the present, a characteristic approach that Sargent employed to make paintings that seemed simultaneously traditional and modern. The historical precedent for the Boit portrait can be found in the work of the seventeenth-century Spanish master Diego Velázquez, an artist greatly admired in nineteenth-century France. Sargent had traveled to Madrid in 1879 to make copies after Velázquez at the MuseoNacional del Prado; among the paintings he studied was Las Meninas (about 1656), a large and famous portrait of the young Spanish infanta with her maids in a great shadowed room. Sargent adapted Velázquez’s mysterious space, his dark subdued palette, and the manner in which his self-possessed princess directly confronts the viewer. At the same time, Sargent must have been thinking of the unusual portraits and oddly centrifugal compositions of his French contemporary Edgar Degas. The Daughters of Edward DarleyBoit shares some of Degas’s strategies: the asymmetrical composition with an almost empty center, the sense of disconnection between family members, and a feeling of modern life interrupted.

    Sargent placed the Boit girls in an indeterminate space—the entrance hall, neither entirely public nor entirely private—that is brightly lit in the foreground but recedes into a vaguely defined drawing room half-lit with mirrors and reflections. The two tall Japanese vases [1997.211], made in Arita in the late nineteenth century specifically for export to the West, were prized family possessions; their unusual size in relation to the girls makes the interior seem strange and magical. The sisters are dressed almost alike, in the sort of casual clothes they would have worn in the schoolroom or at play. Their white pinafores gave Sargent an opportunity to demonstrate his mastery at painting white in different conditions of light. Only the youngest girl, Julia, engages the viewer, while the older girls recede progressively into the shadows, becoming increasingly indistinct.

    Sargent titled the painting Portraits of Children and displayed it in December 1882 in an exhibition at the gallery of the French dealer Georges Petit, who specialized in works by an international group of artists who were more modern than many of the painters who showed at the Salon, but less innovative than the Impressionists. The picture received generally good reviews, and Sargent decided to display it again the following spring, this time at the Salon, the annual state-run exhibition in Paris that was an important venue for artists seeking to build their reputations. While some critics praised Sargent’s technical abilities, most found the composition troubling for its unconventional approach to portraiture. One unidentified writer even described it as “four corners and a void.” While some have interpreted Sargent’s strategy as a poignant comment on the fickle nature of childhood and adolescence, writer Henry James, a friend of both the Boits and Sargent, described the picture as a “happy play-world of a family of charming children.”[1] With this painting, Sargent masterfully transcended portraiture, providing a continuously evocative meditation on openness and enigma, public and private, light and shadow.

    Notes
    1. Henry James, “John S. Sargent,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 75 (October 1887), 688.

    For more information about this painting, see Erica E. Hirshler, Sargent’s Daughters: The Biography of a Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/780878467426.html] (Boston: MFA Publications, 2009).

    Erica E. Hirshler

    Inscription

    Lower right: John S. Sargent 1882

    Provenance

    1882, Edward Darley Boit (1840-1915) and his wife, Mary Louisa Cushing Boit (1845-1894), Paris and Boston; 1915, by descent to their daughters, the sitters, Mary Louisa Boit, Florence D. Boit, Jane Hubbard Boit, and Julia Overing Boit; 1919, gift of Mary Louisa Boit, Florence D. Boit, Jane Hubbard Boit, and Julia Overing Boit to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 31, 1919)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mary Louisa Boit, Julia Overing Boit, Jane Hubbard Boit, and Florence D. Boit in memory of their father, Edward Darley Boit

    Details

    Dimensions

    221.93 x 222.57 cm (87 3/8 x 87 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    19.124

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Gallery (Gallery 232)

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  • Son of George Herndon

    Arthur William Heintzelman (American, 1891–1965)

    Description

    Inscription

    In graphite below platemark, l.r.: Arthur Wm. Heintzelman; at bottom of sheet, l.l.: Son of George Herndon

    Provenance

    L. Aaron Lebowich; by whom given to MFA January 12, 1956.

    Credit Line

    Gift of L. Aaron Lebowich

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Smith 291

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 25.2 x 20 cm (9 15/16 x 7 7/8 in.) Sheet: 42.8 x 30 cm (16 7/8 x 11 13/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    56.64

    Medium or Technique

    Etching and drypoint with plate tone on cream Japanese paper

    Not On View

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  • The Little Reader

    1845–60
    Robert Walter Weir (American, 1803–1889)

    Description

    Inscription

    LL in pen: Robt. W. Weir

    Provenance

    Maxim Karolik, Newport; Gift to MFA April 11, 1957

    Credit Line

    Gift of Maxim Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Watercolors and Drawings, 1800–1875

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Karolik cat. no 715

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 32.7 x 26.4 cm (12 7/8 x 10 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    57.296

    Medium or Technique

    Watercolor on paper

    Not On View

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  • Robert de Cévrieux

    1879
    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description

    Sargent’s commission to paint seven-year-old Robert de Cévrieux came soon after the artist’s strong showing at the 1879 Salon, the important state-sponsored exhibition in Paris. There, he had shown to great acclaim a portrait of his teacher, the artist Carolus-Duran (1879, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts). Sargent’s father, Dr. Fitzwilliam Sargent, reported proudly in a personal letter to his brother that six commissions for portraits followed from the exhibition of Carolus-Duran, including this charming image of a little boy and his dog. Very little is known of the sitter, save his name, his age, and the time the portrait was painted, and that he sold the painting to the New York gallery Knoedler & Co. in 1921, from whence it made its way to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Nevertheless, the portrait reveals a good deal about Sargent’s techniques and interests at this early point in his career, when his Salon works had just begun to gain him recognition.
    Of Sargent’s commissions from that period, one-third were for portraits of children, a type of likeness that had become increasingly fashionable. Commissioning a child’s portrait allowed patrons to dodge any accusations of vanity that requesting portraits of themselves might encourage, and as childhood came to be recognized as a distinct and special phase of life, photographic and painted images of children grew more appealing to parents. Artists likely encouraged this trend, for portraits were the best source of income for artists next to teaching. Paying artistic attention to the child—now rising in cultural and economic significance—made good business sense.[1]

    Cévrieux, who holds his squirming pet dog to one side, wears a stylish skirted suit (suggesting his young age, as he is “unbreeched” or not yet wearing trousers); his matching jacket is trimmed with buttons, and a large red bow is tied around his collar. The small, wriggling dog he grasps implies the pent-up energy of both while also encouraging empathy in the viewer. Standing on an Oriental rug, in front of a backdrop or curtain (a common studio prop), Robert, though well-behaved, radiates youth and energy, characteristics enhanced by Sargent’s strong brushwork. The composition is drawn from the work of Carolus-Duran, who had shown pictures of his own children holding their pets at the 1874 and 1875 Salon exhibitions. Sargent left Carolus-Duran’s formal instruction in 1879, but his artistic influence remained important. Sargent’s technique—though similar to Carolus-Duran’s—is more fluid, his depiction of the child more vital and individualized. Robert leans to the left in order to support his pet; through this diagonal and its bodily significance, he is endowed with a sense of motion, or potential motion. It seems to cost him a great effort to pose and hold the dog simultaneously, as if he might drop the dog, break into laugher, or shift his weight at any moment. By contrast, Carolus-Duran’s sitters seem more static and hew more closely to the model of French nineteenth-century academic child portraiture. These subtle differences point to Sargent’s drive to establish himself independently.

    Though Sargent apparently never exhibited Robert de Cévrieux, he does not seem to have thought of his children’s portraits as lesser commissions, as many artists did. Several of his major works, including The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit [19.124], were of children. Furthermore, Sargent’s willingness to push the bounds of convention with his child sitters—seen in Robert de Cévrieux’s vibrating brushstrokes, despite the traditional pose—enhances the artistic impact of this portion of his oeuvre. Commissions for portraits of children and adults alike were a mainstay for Sargent throughout his career, reflecting his gift for capturing individuality in sitters of all ages.[2]

    Notes
    1. See Barbara Dayer Gallati, Great Expectations: John Singer Sargent Painting Children (New York: Brooklyn Museum, 2004).
    2. See also Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent: The Early Portraits (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 47.

    Carolyn J. Trench

    Inscription

    Lower left: John S. Sargent. 1879

    Provenance

    1879, the sitter, Robert de Cevrieux, Paris; November 28, 1921, sold by Robert De Cevrieux to M. Knoedler and Co., New York; 1922, with John Levy Gallery, New York; 1922, consigned to Frank Bayley, Boston; 1922, sold to the MFA for $9,500. (Accession Date: March 2, 1922)

    Credit Line

    The Hayden Collection—Charles Henry Hayden Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    84.45 x 47.94 cm (33 1/4 x 18 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    22.372

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Gallery (Gallery 232)

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  • Marguerite

    1870
    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower left: WMH. [monogram]

    Provenance

    The artist; Richard M. Hunt, New York, 1878-1879; Francis L. Higginson, Boston; with Copley Gallery, Boston, 1926; to MFA, 1926, purchased for $2,000.

    Credit Line

    A. Shuman Collection—Abraham Shuman Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    128.27 x 94.93 cm (50 1/2 x 37 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    26.63

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Calm Morning

    1904
    Frank Weston Benson (American, 1862–1951)

    Description

    In the late 1890s Benson began to paint outdoors and over the next two decades he produced many of his most popular plein air paintings, primarily of his family at play during idyllic summers. The setting is the island of North Haven, Maine; the family rented Wooster Farm there, beginning in 1901, and later purchased it. In Calm Morning Benson depicted his three oldest children fishing over the side of a dory—Eleanor, the eldest, to the left in the stern of the boat; Elisabeth to the right; and George standing. Benson’s bright, luminous colors and long varied brush strokes give the effect of warm sun shining on the children and the inside of the boat, contrasting with the cool, quiet ocean. He skillfully captured the reflections on the stern of the boat and the deep green color of the water in its shadow. Although Benson usually composed and painted a finished oil directly on the canvas, for Calm Morning he took a more academic approach, making three oil studies which he combined into this larger work. Benson was pleased with the result, declaring it his “best out of door work.”[1]

    Notes
    1. Frank W. Benson to James Gest, May 11, 1905, Benson file, Cincinnati Museum of Art, Ohio.

    This text was adapted from Janet L. Comey’s entry in Impressionism Abroad: Boston and French Painting, by Erica E. Hirshler et al., exh.cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2005).

    Inscription

    Lower left: F.W. Benson/1904

    Provenance

    About 1905, sold by the artist to Charles A. Coolidge, Sr. (1858-1936), Boston; after 1936, descended in the Coolidge family; 1985, gift of the Charles A. Coolidge Family to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 22, 1986)

    Credit Line

    Gift of the Charles A. Coolidge Family

    Details

    Dimensions

    112.71 x 91.76 cm (44 3/8 x 36 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1985.925

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Croll Gallery (Gallery 227)

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  • Helen Sears

    1895
    John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)

    Description

    Helen Sears was one of two portraits Sargent completed in 1895 when he traveled to Boston to install his first murals at the Boston Public Library. Six-year-old Helen was the daughter of Sargent’s friend Sarah Choate Sears, an accomplished photographer, painter, and art patron. Sargent’s high viewpoint and tilted perspective serve to silhouette Helen against the dark red carpet, and the creamy tones of her dress and bright illumination of her face lend her an air of childhood innocence, belied in part by her wistful mood as she stares solemnly into the distance. Helen had posed for another portrait by Abbott H. Thayer three years earlier (1891–92, Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio) and was a frequent subject of her mother’s photographs. Sears sent Sargent her photograph of Helen wearing the same dress and shoes in which Sargent had painted her, prompting him to respond that it “makes me feel like returning to Boston and putting my umbrella through my portrait. But how can an unfortunate painter hope to rival a photograph by a mother? Absolute truth combined with absolute feeling.”[1]

    Notes
    1. Sargent to Sarah Choate Sears, August 7, 1895, private collection, quoted in Erica E. Hirshler, A Studio of her Own: Women Artists in Boston 1870–1940 (Boston: MFA Publications, 2001), 59. See also Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent: Portraits of the 1890s (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), 99–100.

    This text was adapted from Janet L. Comey’s entry in Impressionism Abroad: Boston and French Painting, by Erica E. Hirshler et al., exh.cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2005).

    Inscription

    Upper right: John S. Sargent 1895

    Provenance

    1895, mother of sitter, Sara Choate (Mrs. Montgomery) Sears, Boston; 1935, by descent to the sitter, Helen Sears (Mrs. J. D. Cameron) Bradley, Southboro, Mass.; 1955, gift of Mrs. J. D. Cameron Bradley to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 14, 1957)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. J. D. Cameron Bradley

    Details

    Dimensions

    167.3 x 91.4 cm (65 7/8 x 36 in.)

    Accession Number

    55.1116

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Gallery (Gallery 232)

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  • Boys in a Pasture

    1874
    Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower right: WINSLOW HOMER. N.A./1874

    Provenance

    By 1875, sold by the artist to Mr. Tinker, Dublin, Ireland; by descent to his granddaughter, Miss Tinker. Before 1953, Hector O'Connor, Dublin; 1953, by descent to his brother, Patrick O'Connor, New York; 1953, sold by Patrick O'Connor to the MFA for $12,000. (Accession Date: December 10, 1953)

    Credit Line

    The Hayden Collection—Charles Henry Hayden Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    40.32 x 58.1 cm (15 7/8 x 22 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    53.2552

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Barbara and Theodore Alfond Gallery (Gallery 234)

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  • Girl Reading

    1853
    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description

    The New England painter William Morris Hunt met Jean-François Millet in 1852. He had been studying art in Paris and had seen the French painter’s masterpiece, “The Sower,” at the Salon. With his friend William Babcock, Hunt traveled to Barbizon (near Paris), where Millet lived, to buy the painting. He stayed for two years, working alongside the revered French master and emulating his style and subject matter.
    “Girl Reading,” a quiet image of a teenaged girl seated in a dark interior studying a book, was inspired by Millet’s paintings of young French peasant women sewing or spinning by lamplight. In those pictures, the women are working at domestic tasks after a long day of working in the fields or tending their flocks. Millet’s humane naturalism elicits the viewer’s sympathy. In Hunt’s painting, the warm light, soft paint handling, and delicate, subdued colors similarly indicate the artist’s affection for his subject. She, however, is clearly middle class. Hunt has transported Millet’s scene from a peasant’s humble cottage to an American parlor.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Inscription

    Lower right: W M Hunt 53

    Provenance

    1853, the artist; by 1869, Charles William Dabney (1794-1871), Boston; 1871, by descent to his wife, Frances Alsop Pomeroy Dabney; 1893, gift of Mrs. Charles W. Dabney to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 17. 1893)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Charles W. Dabney

    Details

    Dimensions

    54.61 x 40.64 cm (21 1/2 x 16 in.)

    Accession Number

    93.1455

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Little Rose of Lyme Regis

    1895
    James Abbott McNeill Whistler (American (active in England), 1834–1903)

    Description

    James Abbott McNeill Whistler left America permanently at the age of twenty-one and spent four years in Paris before settling in London, where he lived for the rest of his life. He created this beautiful image, one of a series of tonal portraits challenging the sentimentality of Victorian portrayals of children, near the end of his career. Painted on a visit to the British coastal resort town of Lyme Regis in 1895, the portrait of eight-year-old Rosie Randall, daughter of the town’s mayor, was not a commission but one of a small group of studies Whistler undertook as a tribute to the children he called “the little Lyme Regis maidens.”[1]Whistler portrays Rosie gazing directly at the viewer, nervously clasping her hands. She wears a red pinafore over a black dress and emerges from a dark background. The artist applied thin layers of paint to create this soft, diffuse likeness, which eloquently captures the innocence and vulnerability of childhood. He designed a wide, simple frame to emphasize the delicacy of the image.
    Perhaps best known for his 1871 painting Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Artist’s Mother (Musée d’Orsay, Paris), Whistler produced masterful etchings and lithographs [http://www.mfa.org/search/collections?artist=Whistler&objecttype=66] in addition to his innovative paintings. He also exerted tremendous influence through his writings, teaching, and exhibition design.

    Notes
    1. Whistler to Beatrix Whistler, November 10, 1895 [dated from postmark], MS Whistler W629, Glasgow University Library. See Margaret F. MacDonald, Patricia de Montfort, and Nigel Thorp. eds., The Correspondence of James McNeill Whistler, 1855–1903; including Georgia Toutziari, ed., The Correspondence of Anna McNeill Whistler, 1855–1880 (Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2011), no. 06635, accessed January 6, 2012, http://www.whistler.arts.gla.ac.uk/correspondence.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet L. Comey, Amerikakaigakodomo no sekai [Children in American art], exh. cat. (Nagoya, Japan: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007).

    Provenance

    1895, with Wunderlich Galleries, New York; 1896, sold by Wunderlich Galleries to the MFA together with 96.951 for $7,200. (Accession Date: January 11, 1896)

    Credit Line

    Warren Collection—William Wilkins Warren Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    51.43 x 31.11 cm (20 1/4 x 12 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    96.950

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Robert P. and Carol T. Henderson Gallery (Gallery 228)

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  • Girl with Cat

    1856
    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower right, along hem of dress: Wm M Hunt. 1856

    Provenance

    The artist; commissioned by Edmund Dwight, Boston, 1856; to MFA, 1900, bequest of Edmund Dwight.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Edmund Dwight

    Details

    Dimensions

    107 x 84.77 cm (42 1/8 x 33 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    00.504

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Out on Loan

    On display at Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI, May 31, 2014 – September 14, 2014

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  • A Young Violoncellist

    1892
    Lilla Cabot Perry (American, 1848–1933)

    Description

    Inscription

    Upper left: —LILLA CABOT PERRY—/—1892—

    Provenance

    Miss A. Jones, New Bedford, Mass, 1893; Arthur Tracy Cabot; to MFA, 1913, bequest of Dr. Arthur Tracy Cabot.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Dr. Arthur Tracy Cabot

    Details

    Dimensions

    140.33 x 99.38 cm (55 1/4 x 39 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    13.2905

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • The Torn Hat

    1820
    Thomas Sully (American (born in England), 1783–1872)

    Description

    Thomas Sully was Philadelphia’s leading portraitist in the early nineteenth century. This work displays his characteristically fluid use of paint, a skill he learned in London in emulation of his mentor, the British Romantic portraitist Sir Thomas Lawrence. Even in an era devoted to showing children as truly childlike, Sully’s portrait of his nine-year old son, Thomas Wilcocks Sully, is unusually informal. The young Thomas is situated off-center, creating a feeling of movement and immediacy. He wears an open shirt, rumpled jacket, and straw hat. Such less restrictive costume was becoming more usual for children as it was acknowledged that play was beneficial and healthful for young people.
    The detail of the torn hat suggests some real, human mischief on the part of the subject that is not apparent in the rosy sweetness of his face. The viewer wonders how the hat got torn, suggesting an element of narrative rare in a portrait and tying the picture to genre painting. The tear in the hat brim also afforded Sully the opportunity to show off his ability to paint a face under a complex pattern of light and shadow. Like Copley in A Boy with a Flying Squirrel (Henry Pelham)[1978.297], Sully felt free to experiment in a portrait that was not a commissioned work.

    Sully’s experimentation with such unusual effects may reflect the disappointing turn of events in his career. By 1820 his painting sales had been down for several years, and he was uncertain whether he would be able to continue making his living as a portraitist. Sully may have thought that a more informal kind of portrait might sell. Although the artist referred to the painting as “a study” and completed it in three days, he signed and dated it as he did his finished works. He also priced it at $100, twice the amount he usually asked for a picture of its size. [1]

    Sully’s gamble paid off. He sold the painting for his asking price just a year later, to Boston merchant and art collector John Hubbard. The artist went on to be much admired for his natural portrayals of children. Young Thomas Wilcocks Sully grew up to become a well-regarded portraitist in his own right.

    Notes
    1. “Account of Pictures by Thomas Sully,” roll N18, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. The listing for July 11, 1820, notes “Head size. Thos. Sully, my son, a study.”

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Inscription

    note: on verso is a Landscape study; center, on hatband: TS, 1820 [TS in monogram]

    Provenance

    1821, John Hubbard, Boston; by descent to his daughter, Elizabeth Parkinson Hubbard (Mrs. John Singleton Copley) Greene (1815-1841); 1841, by descent to her husband, Rev. John Singleton Copley Greene (1810-1872); by descent to his son, John Singleton Copley Greene (1845-1872); by descent to his children, Belle Greene and Henry Copley Greene (1871-1951); 1916, gift of Belle Greene and Henry Copley Greene to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 20, 1916)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Miss Belle Greene and Henry Copley Greene in memory of their mother, Mary Abby Greene (Mrs. J. S. Copley Greene)

    Details

    Dimensions

    48.58 x 37.15 cm (19 1/8 x 14 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    16.104

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    On View

    C. Kevin and G. Barrie Landry Gallery (Gallery 126)

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  • The Bowl

    about 1899
    Charles Webster Hawthorne (American, 1872–1930 American)

    Description

    Inscription

    Upper left: C W Hawthorne

    Provenance

    The artist; Frederick L. Jack; to MFA, 1935, gift of Frederick L. Jack.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Frederick L. Jack

    Details

    Dimensions

    76.2 x 63.5 cm (30 x 25 in.)

    Accession Number

    35.1222

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • The Little White Bonnet (Carol Westmorland)

    1917
    Maurice Fromkes (American (born in Russia), 1872–1931)

    Description

    Inscription

    Upper right: M. Fromkes/1917

    Provenance

    The artist; John T. Spaulding, Boston, by 1920; to MFA, 1948, bequest of John T. Spaulding.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of John T. Spaulding

    Details

    Dimensions

    60.96 x 36.19 cm (24 x 14 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.544

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Writing to Father

    1863
    Eastman Johnson (American, 1824–1906)

    Description

    Eastman Johnson’s early career parallels that of the slightly younger Winslow Homer, with whom he was compared for much of his life. Both were initially trained as lithographers in Boston and produced their first significant works in black and white; both went to Europe at critical points in their artistic development (Johnson studied in Düsseldorf and The Hague as well as visiting Paris); and both came to national attention with images depicting aspects of American life affected by the Civil War. Unlike Homer, however, who spent the better part of several years following the Union troops and produced many scenes of camp life, Johnson made only two or three brief trips to the battlefield. Most of his Civil War pictures depicted slaves or, as in this canvas of a small boy absorbed in a letter to his absent father, were centered on the home front, measuring the tragedy of the war by the cost to the children left behind.
    In the charcoal study [1980.475] for this picture, the child appears even younger than he does here. The image focuses more tightly on him; both the room’s middle-class furnishings and references to the conflict—the cadet’s uniform and the solitary cap—were added as Johnson expanded his design and transformed the mood from that of a cozy interior and a poignant moment in this scene of an “every boy’s” life.

    Paintings like this, with its narrative sentimentality, found an appreciative audience in New York; on April 27, 1862, the New York Times called another of Johnson’s pictures of a child left fatherless by the war “singularly beautiful.”

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Inscription

    Lower right: E. Johnson./-63.

    Provenance

    By 1864, Robert Morrison Olyphant (1824-1918), New York. By 1940, Mrs. Edward W. McMahon. By 1960, Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I.; 1964, bequest of Maxim Karolik to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 1, 1964)

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Maxim KarolikW

    Details

    Dimensions

    30.48 x 23.49 cm (12 x 9 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    64.435

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on composition board

    On View

    David and Stacey Goel Gallery (Gallery 239)

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  • Open Air Concert

    1890
    Lilla Cabot Perry (American, 1848–1933)

    Description

    In 1890 Perry painted three plein-air compositions, including “Open Air Concert,” at the home of friends with whom the Perrys resided for the summer in Milton, Massachusetts near Boston. The previous year Perry had admired Monet’s paintings at Georges Petit’s Gallery in Paris and had spent the summer at Giverny, where she befriended the master and began adapting his style. Perry frequently used her three daughters as models: Margaret (born 1876) shown here playing the violin, Alice (born 1884) between her two older sisters, and Edith (born 1880) looking out at the viewer. Combining her academic training with Impressionism, Perry modeled the figures solidly but dissolved the forms of the landscape behind the girls and suggested the dappled sunlight on Margaret’s blue dress with broad strokes of white and pink pigment. The acceptance of “Open Air Concert” by the juries at prestigious exhibitions testifies to their recognition of Perry’s artistic accomplishment.

    This text was adapted from an entry by Janet Comey in Erica Hirshler, “Impressionism Abroad: Boston and French Painting,” exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy of Arts, 2005.

    Inscription

    Lower left: LILLA CABOT PERRY

    Provenance

    the artist; Miss Margaret Perry, her daughter; to MFA, 1964, gift of Miss Margaret Perry.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Miss Margaret Perry

    Details

    Dimensions

    100.96 x 76.52 cm (39 3/4 x 30 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    64.2055

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Ellen Mary in a White Coat

    about 1896
    Mary Stevenson Cassatt (American, 1844–1926)

    Description

    Mary Cassatt is especially admired for her domestic scenes—of women reading, knitting, taking tea, and caring for their children. Born in western Pennsylvania to a wealthy family, she trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and then traveled in Europe before settling in Paris in 1874. Encouraged by her friend and mentor Edgar Degas, she became a member of the Impressionist circle, exhibiting with them in 1879, 1880, 1881, and 1886—Cassatt was the only American to exhibit with this group. She lived for the rest of her life in France, initially in Paris and then in nearby Mesnil-Théribus, where she owned a château.
    Ellen Mary, the second child of Cassatt’s youngest brother Gardner, was about two years old when the artist painted this portrait, the first of many that Cassatt would make throughout her niece’s childhood. Cassatt probably painted this likeness when her brother and his family were visiting her at Beaufresne, her château, in 1896.

    Ellen Mary in a White Coat is a tour de force of compositional invention and psychological insight. Ellen Mary is encased in a luxurious, bulky hat and coat that become the key structural elements of the composition. The curved line formed by the fur trim of the coat and hat contrast with the rectangles of the yellow chair and background panels. Ellen Mary is pushed forward and fills the picture space, seeming at once immediate and monumental. Despite the fact that only Ellen Mary’s tiny face, hands, and summarily sketched feet are visible, Cassatt has managed to indicate the child’s personality and mood. Although the costume and setting that envelop her were designed as much to indicate her family’s wealth as to provide for her comfort, Ellen Mary is able to assert her individuality. Serious beyond her years, Ellen Mary seems to know that sitting for a portrait is important, although not much fun for a two-year-old.

    Cassatt painted Ellen Mary in a White Coat when she was at the height of her powers. She had studied Spanish painting, especially Velázquez’s pictures of children of the royal Spanish family—like Ellen Mary, small children trapped in elaborate costumes. She was a friend of Edgar Degas and had seen firsthand his manipulation of space and his ability to use the background of a portrait [31.33] to comment on the sitter. In addition, the flat patterns in this painting reflect Cassatt’s interest in Japanese woodblock prints, which she had enthusiastically collected and studied. Having absorbed these various influences, she applied her own sensitive appreciation of childhood to create a perceptive and unsentimental portrait of her niece. Aunt and niece grew especially close, and when Cassatt died, she left Beaufresne to Ellen Mary.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet L. Comey, Amerikakaigakodomo no sekai [Children in American art], exh. cat. (Nagoya, Japan: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007).

    Inscription

    Lower left: Mary Cassatt

    Provenance

    1911, given by the artist to her niece (the sitter), Ellen Mary Cassatt (Mrs. Horace Binney Hare, b. 1894 - d. 1966), Pennsylvania; 1966, by inheritance to her son, Charles Hare; 2012, gift of Charles, Hope, and Binney Hare to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 25, 2012)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Charles, Hope, and Binney Hare in honor of Ellen Mary Cassatt

    Details

    Dimensions

    81.28 x 60.32 cm (32 x 23 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    1982.630

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Suzanne and Terrence Murray Gallery (Gallery 226)

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  • Marion Pond (Mrs. Kenneth Bacon Bond)

    1903
    Ernest Lee Major (American, 1864–1950)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower left: Ernest L. Major.

    Provenance

    The artist; Mrs. Virgil C. Pond; to Marion Pond Bond, the sitter; to MFA, 1986, gift of Marion Pond Bond (Mrs. Kenneth Bacon Bond).

    Credit Line

    Gift of Marion Pond Bond (Mrs. Kenneth Bacon Bond)

    Details

    Dimensions

    131.13 x 86.04 cm (51 5/8 x 33 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1986.932

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • "Claude et sa Sœur - Pelisse et Douillette," plate X from Gazette du Bon Ton, Volume 1, No. 2

    French
    December 1912
    Maurice Boutet de Monvel (French, 1851–1913), Publisher Librairie Centrale des Beaux-arts

    Object Place: Paris, France

    Description

    Costumes de promenade pour enfants. Claude est vêtu d’une pelisse de velours à brandebourgs garnie de castor; la douillette de sa sœur est de drap bordé de vizon. Leurs coiffures sont assorties.

    Provenance

    By 1952, William Morris Hunt Memorial Library; accessioned by MFA, Boston, February 12, 2004

    Credit Line

    Transferred from the William Morris Hunt Memorial Library

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 25.4 x 19.1 cm (10 x 7 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    2004.7.10

    Medium or Technique

    Photomechanical lithograph with hand-applied color (pochoir)

    Not On View

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    Europe

    Classifications

    Books and manuscripts, Books

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  • Bust of a child

    Roman
    Imperial Period
    about A.D. 200

    Place of Manufacture: Rome, Lazio, Italy

    Description

    This bust is framed by a circle of heavy drapery meant to suggest a palla or cloak that was commonly worn over the tunic. The tunic is buttoned at the shoulder under the draped edge of the cloak. This combination of clothing, the palla and tunic, was worn only by women.

    The strands of hair are deeply cut and show a hairstyle where the hair is trimmed short over the ears and left long to curl at the back. This sort of hairstyle was used by both male and female children from at least the first century CE.

    The child has incised brows, wide eyes, drilled pupils, a small mouth, and plump cheeks.

    The bust is in good condition and was carved with the head flattened in back and a hollow under the shoulders. There is a marble wedge at the center. The end of the nose has been restored, the lips are chipped, and there are small nicks in the surface.

    Scientific Analysis:

    University of South Florida Lab No. 8441: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.7 / delta18O -2.7,

    Istituto di Struttura della Materia - CNR Lab No. 13 (January 30, 2012): maximum grain size: 0.4mm; electron paramagnetic resonance: intensity 4.2%, line width 58.4%; color 84%

    Attribution - Göktepe 3, Turkey (near Aphrodisias). Justification - C and O isotopes, fine grain, pure white, low EPR intensity

    Probability of correct quarry assignment (Istituto di Struttura della Materia - CNR Lab No. 13; January 30, 2012):

    distance of sample from center of quarry probability field: 4.2; relative probability: 97%; absolute probability 64%

    Provenance

    By 1873: recorded by Michaelis in the Margam Park Collection, near Cardiff, Wales; by date unknown: with Acanthus Gallery, New York; January 1993: purchased from Acanthus Gallery by Jean-Luc Chalmin, 8 Groom Place, Belgravia, London SW1X 7BA; purchased by MFA from Jean-Luc Chalmin, May 25, 1994

    Credit Line

    Mary S. and Edward Jackson Holmes Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height x width: 37 x 30 cm (14 9/16 x 11 13/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.84

    Medium or Technique

    Marble, from Göktepe, Turkey (near Aphrodisias)

    On View

    Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)

    Collections

    The Ancient World

    Classifications

    Sculpture

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  • Portrait of a small boy

    Roman
    Imperial Period
    about A.D. 50

    Description

    This is the portrait of a boy two to three years old; the plump cheeks indicate that he could hardly be older. The fact that the bust is draped and includes more of the breast than is usual in the Julio-Claudian period suggests that the portrait is to be dated in the second half of the first century A.D. The bust could have been inserted in a rectangular terminal shaft running to the ground.

    Portraits of the very young Nero (or Britannicus) about A.D. 50 parallel this likeness of an anonymous child in arrangement of the hair, drapery, and in stylistic details. A bust of a baby boy in Copenhagen, originally from the tomb of the Licinian family at Rome, has a general form and specific details that hardly differ from those of the Boston boy, emphasizing the timeless qualities of these early imperial child portraits. The Copenhagen portrait has been dated either to about 25 B.C. or A.D. 40.

    Only the tip of the nose is missing; the edges of the drapery show slight damage. The surface has taken on a slightly shiny quality, from cleansing with acid.

    Provenance

    By 1901: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Naples.); purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren, December 1901

    Credit Line

    Henry Lillie Pierce Fund

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 341; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 114 (additional published references).

    Dimensions

    Height x length (of face): 24.5 x 9.2 cm (9 5/8 x 3 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    01.8202

    Medium or Technique

    Marble, seemingly from the Greek islands

    On View

    Classical Roman Gallery (Gallery 213)

    Collections

    The Ancient World

    Classifications

    Religious and cult objects

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  • By the Wayside

    1877
    George Fuller (American, 1822–1884)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower left: G. Fuller/1877

    Provenance

    The artist; George Faulkner, Jamaica Plain, Mass., by 1884; to MFA, 1911, gift of Dr. and Mrs. George Faulkner. Through the Trustees of the Faulkner Hospital.

    Credit Line

    From Dr. and Mrs. George Faulkner

    Details

    Dimensions

    128.27 x 102.55 cm (50 1/2 x 40 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    11.2808

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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    Americas

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  • Sally Patten

    1812–14
    Gilbert Stuart (American, 1755–1828)

    Description

    By the time he settled in Boston in 1803, Gilbert Stuart had become America’s preeminent artist, widely celebrated for his portraits of George Washington. After a promising beginning, Stuart had gone to London where he studied for five years with Benjamin West, president of the Royal Academy. Stuart’s ability to capture true likeness and his virtuoso handling of paint made him a successful portraitist in that city and subsequently in Dublin, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Boston’s elite society also eagerly sought portraits from him.
    This is one of the few portraits of children Stuart painted during his twenty-three years in Boston; the portrait was probably commissioned by Sally Patten’s grandmother Mary Sumner Williams, whom Stuart also painted. Sally’s dress incorporates a high waist and puffed sleeves, typical of the Neoclassical style fashionable during the early nineteenth century. (Girls’ dresses were identical to women’s except that they were adorned with sashes that tied in the back.) Seated in an elegant chair upholstered in red velvet, Sally politely folds her hands and sits up straight. Stuart renders her bowlike mouth, pink cheeks, fleshy chin, short hair, and large brown eyes with soft brushstrokes that impart an endearing quality to the likeness.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Provenance

    The artist; by descent to Mrs. George Hollingsworth, Milton, Mass., daughter of the sitter; to MFA, 1916, bequest of Mrs. George Hollingsworth.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Mrs. George (Polly R.) Hollingsworth

    Details

    Dimensions

    66.99 x 53.97 cm (26 3/8 x 21 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    16.106

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    Not On View

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    Americas

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  • The Belated Kid

    1854–57
    William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

    Description

    Hunt began this monumental image of a peasant girl and her rescued kid about 1854, when he was working with the French realist painter Jean-François Millet in Barbizon, a village outside Paris. He finished it after returning home to Newport, Rhode Island, in 1857. It proved so popular when exhibited in the United States that Boston collector Peter Chardon Brooks (who on Hunt’s recommendation also became a great patron of Millet) commissioned a replica.
    The painting clearly was inspired by Millet’s pictures of peasant children [17.1484], especially those depicting young girls diligently watching over one or two cows or sheep. In Hunt’s version of the subject, a kid that strayed and was found again is carried home by a pretty barefoot shepherdess. To add to the sentimental mood of the painting, Hunt shows a mother goat following them closely as though to express gratitude for the rescue. While Hunt’s image echoes Millet’s images of rural labor, it is considerably more romantic in its presentation of the innocence and goodness of these hardworking peasant children. The large scale of the figure is tempered by soft contours, delicate colors, and subdued lighting to create an image that is both noble and tender.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet L. Comey, Amerikakaigakodomo no sekai [Children in American art], exh. cat. (Nagoya, Japan: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007).

    Provenance

    1857, James Davis. By 1879, Miss Elizabeth Howes; 1907, bequest of Miss Elizabeth Howes to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 20, 1907)

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Miss Elizabeth Howes

    Details

    Dimensions

    137.79 x 98.42 cm (54 1/4 x 38 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    07.135

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Penny and Jeff Vinik Gallery (Gallery 233)

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    Americas

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  • Mary and Elizabeth Royall

    about 1758
    John Singleton Copley (American, 1738–1815)

    Description

    Copley seldom painted children. His portrait of Mary and Elizabeth Royall is even rarer for showing two children, the teenaged daughters of Isaac Royall, Jr., of Medford, Massachusetts, one of the richest merchants in New England. Royall was a sociable man who loved to entertain in his grand Georgian mansion near the Mystic River in Medford (extant and open to visitors); in 1769, he [39.247]and his wife Elizabeth (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond) would also pose for Copley. Royall’s love for fine things is evident in the portrait he commissioned of his daughters, which was designed to show off the family’s wealth and social status: the girls are dressed in expensive silk gowns trimmed with imported lace, and the velvet drape behind them was intended to bring to mind portraits of English aristocrats who had themselves painted in such a setting. Even the pets in the picture conveyed status: the King Charles spaniel was a favorite of British royalty, and the hummingbird perched on Mary’s finger may have been imported from the West Indies, where Royall conducted profitable trade. The obedient pets and the girls’ modest demeanor were also meant to indicate the girls’ character, showing them to be polite, disciplined, well-mannered young women—good daughters and good future wives. This projection did indeed come to pass: Mary (on the left) married George Erving in 1775 and her younger sister Elizabeth married William Pepperell, the son of Nathanial Sparhawk [1983.595], in 1767. Threatened by the outbreak of the Revolution, Mary and her husband left Boston with her father Isaac Royall, first for Halifax and later for England. Elizabeth, already the mother of four children, died of dysentery in 1775, her Loyalist husband claiming that her early death was caused by food shortages attributable to the revolutionary boycott of British goods. He also left for England, later commissioning Copley to paint a family portrait that included a posthumous likeness of Elizabeth (1778, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh).

    This text was adapted and expanded by Erica E. Hirshler from Carol Troyen and Janet L. Comey, Amerikakaigakodomo no sekai [Children in American art], exh. cat. (Nagoya, Japan: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007).

    Provenance

    About 1758 to the Royall family, Medford, Mass., until 1779. Gideon Snow, Boston; by descent to his son, the Rev. Theodore W. Snow, Boston; by descent to his daughter, Miss H. Elizabeth Snow, Pomfret, Conn.; 1925, sold by H. Elizabeth Snow to the MFA for $2,000. (Accession Date: March 5, 1925)

    Credit Line

    Julia Knight Fox Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    145.73 x 122.24 cm (57 3/8 x 48 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    25.49

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Norma and Roger Alfred Saunders Gallery (Gallery 128)

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  • The Little Convalescent

    about 1873–79
    Eastman Johnson (American, 1824–1906)

    Description

    During the 1870s, Johnson frequently visited his sister Harriet May and her family, who spent summers on a farm in Kennebunkport, Maine. He often used Harriet’s children as models, capturing their carefree play. “The Little Convalescent” is probably a picture of Harriet reading to one of her children, who is sick in bed-his condition alluded to by the medicine bottles, thermometer, bell, and toothbrush in the background. While Harriet concentrates on the book, caring for her son’s mind as well as his body, the little boy turns to look at the artist. Johnson painted a number of pictures of children reading or writing, to suggest they would grow up to be thoughtful, responsible adults. The best known of these depicts the boy Abraham Lincoln-who would serve as United States president during the Civil War-reading by firelight. “The Little Convalescent” is also one of several tender pictures of mothers nurturing their children that Johnson was inspired to paint after the birth of his only child in 1870.
    Johnson’s fame as a genre painter rests not only on his quiet domestic scenes but also on his series of canvases depicting maple sugar production, corn husking, and cranberry harvesting. These were all quintessential New England rustic activities, and Johnson included children in most of the compositions.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Inscription

    Lower left: E.J-

    Provenance

    The artist; Mrs. Eastman Johnson, his wife; with Eastman Johnson Sale, American Art Association, New York, no. 12, Feb. 26-27, 1907; W.B. Cogswell, Syracuse, New York, 1907; descended to the Misses F. Pearl and Elizabeth Browning, Syracuse, his granddaughters, by 1920; with Norman Hirschl, New York; to MFA, 1940, purchased for $500.

    Credit Line

    Frederick Brown Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    32.38 x 27.94 cm (12 3/4 x 11 in.)

    Accession Number

    40.90

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on paperboard

    On View

    David and Stacey Goel Gallery (Gallery 239)

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    Americas

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  • Child with a Peach

    about 1810
    John Brewster, Jr. (American, 1766–1854)

    Description

    John Brewster, Jr., who was unable to speak or hear, was the son of a prominent doctor in Hampton, Connecticut. He was well educated and from an early age was encouraged to pursue his artistic talent. He was trained by local artists and soon had many clients eager for his portraits. During a career that spanned four decades, he painted more than 250 portraits; a large number of them were of children.
    It is frequently suggested that, because Brewster was unable to communicate in conventional ways, he was particularly sensitive to subtleties of personality. This unidentified child is posed against a plain background. He or she gazes at the viewer with large, soulful eyes, holding a peach. The sweet fruit’s season is brief in New England’s cool climate, so the artist may have included it to remind the viewer of the preciousness of childhood. Brewster’s rendering of the child’s expression is tender and convincing. His delicate paint handling and quiet colors enhance the serenity of this image and communicate the frailty and innocence of children.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Provenance

    The artist; private collection, Connecticut; with Harry Stone, New York, 1944; to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R. I., 1944; to MFA, 1945, gift of Maxim Karolik.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Maxim Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    63.5 x 53.34 cm (25 x 21 in.)

    Accession Number

    45.893

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Lurie-Marks Gallery (Gallery 138)

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  • Three Children

    1840
    John F. Francis (American, 1808–1886 American)

    Description

    Although John Francis is best known today as a still-life painter, he began his career painting portraits of prominent citizens of Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and other cities. Francis was influenced by the Romantic painter Thomas Sully, of Philadelphia, and gave his sitters the same bright eyes and rosy complexions that made Sully’s portraits so popular, while portraying his subjects as less pretty and more down-to-earth.
    Francis’s “Three Children” is both charming and accomplished. The youngest child holds a rattle and has removed one of his or her socks. The engaging middle child on the right is dressed in a “skeleton suit,” one of the first specialized garments worn by children and characterized by a high waist, long pantaloons, and copious buttons. His hat is in the left foreground. The oldest boy’s yellow vest and black frock coat are more grown-up fashions; he lounges protectively beside his siblings. The luxurious surroundings proved a colorful setting for the unconventionally informal poses of the three children.
    Francis showed this picture at the 1840 Artists’ Fund Society exhibition in Philadelphia, where it served to advertise his painting skills. He clearly was successful in attracting patronage, for he earned a handsome income from his painting during his lifetime and his estate was valued at more than forty thousand dollars-a considerable sum-at his death.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Inscription

    Reverse, before relining: Jno F. Francis pt 1840

    Provenance

    The artist; private collection, New York State; with Victor Spark, New York, 1944; to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I., 1944; to MFA, 1947, gift of Martha C. (Mrs. Maxim) Karolik.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Maxim Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    106.68 x 106.68 cm (42 x 42 in.)

    Accession Number

    47.1142

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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    Americas

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  • Two Children

    1843
    Jefferson Gauntt (American, 1805–1864 American)

    Description

    In the early nineteenth century, the out-of-doors was considered a male domain, and girls were generally depicted in domestic settings. By 1831, however, Lydia Child argued in “The Mother’s Book” that girls as well as boys would benefit from open air and should be allowed to play outside. Jefferson Gauntt seems to have taken such assertions to heart and painted all his known portraits of children in outdoor settings. Although we do not know the names of the sister and brother in this portrait, we do know (from an inscription on the back of the painting) that Gauntt painted them in Brooklyn, New York. Gauntt settled there in 1832 after studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in Philadelphia, and spending several years traveling along the East Coast painting portraits. He worked in Brooklyn until at least 1857; “Two Children” is one of the most charming of the portraits of children for which he became known.
    Although sister and brother wear similar dresses, there are differences: the girl’s pantaloons have more lace than her brother’s, and his costume is decorated with buttons, a type of ornamentation more characteristically male. Although boys were more commonly shown with dogs, the brother holds a cat. The girl carries a typically feminine bouquet of flowers and affectionately drapes a protective arm over her brother’s shoulders.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Inscription

    Reverse, before relining: Painted by J. Gaunt Brooklyn 1843

    Provenance

    The artist; private collection, Long Island; with Victor Spark, New York, 1945; to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I., 1945; to MFA, 1947, gift of Maxim Karolik.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Maxim Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    127 x 101.28 cm (50 x 39 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    47.1161

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Skating

    about 1830–40
    Thomas Birch (American (born in England), 1779–1851)

    Description

    Thomas Birch moved from England to the Philadelphia area in 1794. He learned to paint from his father, William Russell Birch. The younger Birch became well known for a variety of subjects, including seascapes; views of country estates, harbors, and rivers; and naval battle scenes from the War of 1812.
    Although he had exhibited a few “winter pieces” from 1811 to 1813 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in the 1830s Birch made winter landscapes one of his specialties. These scenes were based on seventeenth-century Dutch paintings that he had studied in his father’s art collection. In “Skating,” leafless trees are silhouetted against a gray winter sky that occupies half the canvas, a typical feature of Dutch landscapes. A horse-drawn sleigh full of warmly dressed travelers crosses a bridge near a group of farm houses. The most animated figures are the ice skaters. One stoops to put on his skates, while others beckon to the young skater on the bank of the frozen stream. It is interesting that all Birch’s skaters are boys. Although skating was considered an appropriate and healthful outdoor activity, for a long time it was a sport restricted to boys, and it was not until the 1850s that girls were commonly seen on the ice.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Inscription

    Lower right: T. Birch

    Provenance

    The artist; art market, Philadelphia; with Harry Shaw Newman, New York; with Charles D. Childs, Boston, 1938; to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R. I.; to MFA, 1947, gift of Martha C. (Mrs. Maxim) Karolik.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    50.8 x 76.83 cm (20 x 30 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    47.1185

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • In the Cornfield

    1844
    Artist James Goodwyn Clonney (American (born in England), 1812–67)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower left: J.G. CLONNEY. 1844

    Provenance

    The artist; with American Art Union, 1844; to John Bohlen, Jr., Philadelphia,1844; with a Baltimore dealer; with Victor Spark, New York, 1946; to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I., 1946; to MFA, 1947, gift of Martha C. (Mrs. Maxim) Karolik.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    35.56 x 42.86 cm (14 x 16 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    47.1263

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • The Sleigh Ride

    about 1845
    James Goodwyn Clonney (American (born in England), 1812–67)

    Description

    In “The Sleigh Ride,” a young girl sits on a sled harnessed to a dog in imitation of an adult’s horse and sleigh. A boy, probably her brother, hands her a stick which she pretends is a horsewhip. Like children of today, youngsters of the mid-nineteenth century often played by mimicking adult behavior. The wooden sled was a popular toy, and children of both sexes went sliding or coasting as soon as snow conditions were favorable. Dogs, of course, were common pets, and caring for pets was thought to be good training for children.
    James Clonney, who had come to the United States from England as a young man, was among the first generation of genre painters. His simple and uncluttered pictures generally have few figures and are mildly humorous. He was reasonably popular in his own day, but he fell out of favor until rediscovered by the American art collector Maxim Karolik in the 1940s. Karolik considered “The Sleigh Ride” an archetypal expression of American daily life. He bought it and several other paintings by Clonney and gave them to the MFA as part of his great collection of nineteenth-century American art.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Provenance

    The artist; Mrs. P.H.B. Frelinghuysen, Manchester, Vermont; with Victor Spark, New York, 1946; to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I., 1947; to MFA, 1948, gift of Maxim Karolik.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Maxim Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    63.5 x 86.36 cm (25 x 34 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.417

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Dismissal of School on an October Afternoon

    1845
    Henry Inman (American, 1801–1846)

    Description

    Henry Inman was the leading portrait painter in New York City from the 1820s until his death. As a friend of such literary figures as James Fenimore Cooper and a founding member of the National Academy of Design, the most important mid-century artistic organization in the country, he played a significant part in the intellectual life of the city. In addition to portraits, Inman also painted idyllic landscapes, literary subjects, and genre scenes.
    In “Dismissal of School on an October Afternoon,” his last painting and largest genre canvas, Inman depicted all the buoyant energy and gaiety of children just released from their classroom on a beautiful autumn afternoon. Watched by a grinning African American workman, girls play with a doll, a boy sails a boat in a stream, and two youths read an adventure story with great interest. A still life of hats and lunch pails, discarded so the children can play, occupies the foreground. In the background, a scrawny schoolmaster locks the door of the one-room country schoolhouse with “I. Crane” inscribed over the door. Contemporary viewers would have understood this reference to Ichabod Crane, a character in Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a humorous tale about a country school teacher. The children frolic in a romantic landscape that is not a specific site but is characteristic of the Hudson River valley, the scene of Washington Irving’s story.
    Inman painted other genre scenes of children playing in rural settings, including one of a barefoot young fisherman and another of two boys playing a game called “mumble the peg” after school. He also depicted a ragged newsboy in an urban setting. Thus, as early as 1830, Inman contrasted the wholesomeness of the rural childhood with the evils of urban street life in his paintings.
    “Dismissal of School on an October Afternoon” was not only the capstone of Inman’s career but also provides an idealized view of childhood in America in the mid-1840s. During the administration of President Jimmy Carter, this appealing painting was loaned to the White House, where it was hung in his daughter Amy’s bedroom.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Inscription

    Lower left, on rock: Inman./1845.

    Provenance

    The artist; William P. Jones, 1846; James Lenox, New York; to Lenox Library, 1870; to Lenox Foundation, New York Public Library, 1895; sold Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, April 14-16, no. 192, 1943; with Victor Spark, New York, 1943;to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I., 1943l; to MFA, 1948, gift of Martha C.(Mrs. Maxim) Karolik.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815-1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    66.04 x 90.8 cm (26 x 35 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.432

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Little Miss Hone

    1824
    Samuel Finley Breese Morse (American, 1791–1872)

    Description

    Samuel F. B. Morse was an artist before he became an inventor. Shortly after graduating from Yale College, Morse went to England for four years of study. During the late eighteenth century in Great Britain, Thomas Gainsborough, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and others had painted numerous pictures of children in a sentimental manner. Cats were often included in pictures of little girls, and in some paintings, such as Joseph Wright of Derby’s Two Girls Decorating a Cat by Candlelight (1770, English Heritage, Kenwood House, London), the kitten’s young owners played with them as if they were babies. When, after returning to the United States, Morse was commissioned by Isaac Hone, an affluent New York auctioneer, to paint his five-year-old daughter, he remembered the art that he had seen in England and decided to show her rehearsing for her future role as a mother. Morse wrote to his wife in 1824, “I am engaged in painting the full length portrait of Mr. Hone’s little daughter a pretty little girl just as old as Susan [Morse’s daughter]… . I shall paint her with a cat set up in her lap like a baby, with a towel under its chin, and a cap on its head, and she employed in feeding it with a spoon.”[1]Mimicking adulthood, Mary Hone is dressed up in a fancy hat, elegant gown, and shawl. Her stylish attire and the fashionable Greek Revival furnishings of her surroundings underscore her family’s wealth.
    Morse continued his successful career as a portraitist, highlighted by his commission to paint the French general Lafayette during his 1824–25 visit to the United States. He became a founder and first president of the National Academy of Design. However, Morse’s attempts at history painting, which was his real interest, were unappreciated, and in 1837 he abandoned art to pursue his electrical studies, leading to his great inventions.

    Notes
    1. Samuel F. B. Morse to his wife, December 6, 1824, Archives, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet L. Comey, Amerikakaigakodomo no sekai [Children in American art], exh. cat. (Nagoya, Japan: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007).

    Provenance

    1824, father of the sitter, Isaac Hone, New York. By 1928, John F. Braun, Merion, Pa. By 1932, Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist (first Mrs. Edward Bok, later Mrs. Efrem Zimbalist, 1876-1970), Philadelphia. 1944, sold by John Levy Galleries, New York to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I.; 1948, bequest of Martha C. (Mrs. Maxim) Karolik to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 3, 1948)

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815-1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    76.52 x 63.82 cm (30 1/8 x 25 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.455

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas mounted on plywood

    On View

    C. Kevin and G. Barrie Landry Gallery (Gallery 126)

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  • William Allen

    1843
    William Matthew Prior (American, 1806–1873)

    Description

    William Matthew Prior, a self-taught New England artist, worked in two styles, one primitive and flat and the other more sophisticated—and more expensive for the client. In 1831 he advertised in the Maine Inquirer: “Persons wishing for a flat picture can have a likeness without shadow or shade for one-quarter the price.” A flat likeness cost $2.92, with frame and glass. William Allen is an example of Prior’s more complex style, and the Allen family likely paid the artist a sizeable fee for this charming portrait of their two-year-old son.
    The landscape surrounding William Allen refers to the family’s large estate in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Prior was also inspired by the eighteenth-century British convention of depicting children and family groups in outdoor wooded settings. He was familiar with this convention either from widely circulated prints after paintings by Reynolds and Gainsborough or from prints after the work of American artist Thomas Sully [16.104], who had studied in London and painted children in similar landscape settings. The allusion to British aristocratic portraiture must have flattered the Allen family, who had amassed a fortune from the manufacture of decorative iron. The greyhounds—one of which sports a gilt buckled collar—were family pets and appeared on the family crest. The flowers, symbolic of innocence and sweetness, and the straw hat, stylish summer headwear for little boys, add colorful notes to the portrayal.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet L. Comey, Amerikakaigakodomo no sekai [Children in American art], exh. cat. (Nagoya, Japan: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007).

    Inscription

    Reverse, before relining: W. Allen./By Wm. M. Prior/1843

    Provenance

    1843, Samuel Parker Allen (born 1813), Cambridgeport, Mass.; by descent to his son, James Morse Allen (born 1848), Cambridge, Mass.; by descent to his daughter, Miss Greta Allen (born 1881), Dorchester, Mass.; 1946, consigned to Bessie Howard; 1946, sold by Bessie Howard to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I.; 1948, bequest of Martha C. (Mrs. Maxim) Karolik to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 3, 1948)

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815-1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    81.91 x 101.92 cm (32 1/4 x 40 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.466

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Joyce and Edward Linde Gallery (Gallery 237)

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  • Three Sisters of the Copeland Family

    1854
    William Matthew Prior (American, 1806–1873)

    Description

    William Matthew Prior was an exception to conventionally held notions about folk painters. He worked in a large city (Charlestown, across the Mystic River from Boston, Massachusetts); he made a handsome living as an artist, rather than making objects chiefly for his own enjoyment; and he adjusted his style according to his customer’s ability to pay. His most elaborate portraits could cost as much as $25.00, but, as Prior advertised in the Maine Inquirer on April 5, 1831, “persons wishing for a flat picture can have a likeness without shade or shadow at one quarter the price.” Such portraits—small, with plain backgrounds and little or no modeling, so that the figure appeared rather two-dimensional—were the mainstays of Prior’s busy portrait practice.
    It would appear that Samuel Copeland, a secondhand-clothing dealer and real-estate investor from Chelsea, Massachusetts, was sufficiently affluent to pay full price for this complex and handsome portrait of his daughters. The girls—Eliza (about six years old), Nellie (about two), and Margaret (about four)—wear the off-the-shoulder dresses that were fashionable in the 1850s; their necklaces and hair ribbons also indicate their father’s prosperity. The book, flowers, and fruit they hold indicate that they are educated, obedient, and have a pleasant demeanor. The book has special poignancy, for Copeland, despite his business acumen, could neither read nor write.

    In addition to being a skilled portrait painter, Prior was something of a political activist and was prominent in abolitionist circles. He counted a number of African Americans among his clients, including Samuel Copeland, and unlike many other images of blacks by artists of his day, Prior’s were painted with seriousness and sympathy.

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Inscription

    Reverse, before relining: W.M. Prior/36 Trenton Street (third section)/East Boston/Sep. 1854

    Provenance

    1854, Samuel Copeland, Chelsea, Mass.; 1947, descended in the Copeland family to the granddaughter of the youngest child in the painting, Mrs. Ellen Brown, Boston; 1947, consigned to Richard C. Morrison, Boston; 1947, sold by Richard C. Morrison to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I.; 1948, bequest of Martha C. (Mrs. Maxim) Karolik to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 3, 1948)

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815-1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    68.26 x 92.71 cm (26 7/8 x 36 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.467

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Joyce and Edward Linde Gallery (Gallery 237)

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  • Irish Girl (Mary O'Donnel)

    1913
    Robert Earle Henri (American, 1865–1929)

    Description

    Robert Henri spent most summers travelling in both Europe and America looking for interesting individuals to paint, those whom he called, “my people.” Henri wrote, “My people may be old or young, rich or poor, I may speak their language or I may communicate with them only by gestures. But wherever I find them, the Indian at work in the white man’s way, the Spanish gypsy moving back to the freedom of the hills, the little boy, quiet and reticent before the stranger, my interest is awakened and my impulse immediately is to tell about them through my own language-drawing and painting in color.” Henri’s favored subjects were those people whose faces expressed their humanity, beauty, and dignity, regardless of race or station.

    In June of 1913, Henri and his Irish-born second wife, the artist and illustrator Marjorie Organ, retreated to Ireland for the summer. They eventually ended up in County Mayo, on the Island of Achill where they rented an isolated house on a steep hill on the Atlantic coast. In a letter to Boston collector John T. Spaulding, who acquired this painting in 1921, Henri described the sitter, Mary O’Donnel, a young Gaelic girl who was “shy and speechless in the presence of strangers” but could be seen gathering sea grass, and riding around the island on horseback, “her hair down her back and her strong legs and bare feet showing.”

    In painting Mary, Henri demonstrated many of the tenets he passed on to students. In his influential collection of his art lessons, “The Art Spirit” (first published in 1923), Henri explained how to use color expressively. He could have been describing this portrait when he wrote, “the reason that a certain color in life, like the red in a young girl’s cheek, is beautiful, is that it manifests youth, health; in another sense, that it manifests her sensibility.” In another passage he describes how the color of a sitter’s cheek is not, “a spot of red, but is the culminating note of an order which runs through every part of the canvas signifying her sensitiveness and her health.” In keeping with this advice, Henri complemented the ruddiness of Mary O’Donnel’s complexion with her brilliant red sweater. The artist also noted her shyness, suggested by her averted glance and her nervously pursed lips, defined with touches of yellow pigment. Maintaining “the look of the eye has its correspondence in every part of the body,” Henri rendered Mary’s sparkling irises by allowing the lighter weave of the canvas to show through the palest blue stain of pigment.

    Spaulding must have been drawn to Mary’s quiet presence and the dignity imbued in Henri’s portrait of her. Spaulding was an important collector who contributed nearly 10,000 artworks to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, including thousands of Japanese prints. This was the only painting by Henri that Spaulding collected, acquiring it from the artist in 1921. Spaulding did collect additional works by Henri’s peers and students that now reside at the Museum of Fine Arts, including George Bellows “Emma in Black Print” [48.518]; Edward Hopper’s “Drug Store” [48.564]; Rockwell Kent’s “Maine Coast, Winter” [48.567]; Ernest Lawson’s “Westchester Hills” [48.571]; and George Luk’s “Jenny” [48.573] and “A Clown” [48.574].

    Cody Hartley

    Inscription

    Lower right: Robert Henri

    Provenance

    The artist; John T. Spaulding, Boston, about 1921; to MFA, 1948, gift of John T. Spaulding.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of John T. Spaulding

    Details

    Dimensions

    61.28 x 51.43 cm (24 1/8 x 20 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.562

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Gertrude

    1899
    Frank Weston Benson (American, 1862–1951)

    Description

    Gertrude Schirmer was about ten years old when Frank Weston Benson painted this portrait in her home in West Manchester, Massachusetts, a small town north of Boston. Years later Gertrude remembered how impressed she was that Benson, an important painter and teacher at the Boston Museum School, had ridden his bicycle from nearby Salem to West Manchester for the sittings. Gertrude’s father, Gustav Schirmer, was president of one of the oldest music publishing houses in America, and Gertrude grew up in a musical and affluent environment. Benson suggests the family’s wealth by including a glimpse of the cabriole leg of an eighteenth-century high chest in the background. Gertrude wears her best dress and shoes and sits in a rocking chair, but the demands of sitting for a portrait are apparent in her expression of dutiful concentration.
    The Schirmers gave Benson more latitude than usual in constructing the portrait, resulting in a sympathetic portrayal. In answer to Schirmer’s note of thanks, Benson responded, “I have had a great pleasure myself in doing it, more so than often falls my lot….This comes…from the freedom you all allowed me in all ways. Few people know enough to allow such freedom from interference or I think they would always get better pictures.”

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Inscription

    Lower right: F.W. BENSON 1899.

    Provenance

    The artist; to Mr. and Mrs. Gustave Schirmer, 1899; Gertrude Schirmer (Mrs. WIlliam Rodman Fay), the sitter, by 1952; to MFA, 1954, gift of Mrs. William Rodman Fay.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. William Rodman Fay

    Details

    Dimensions

    127.32 x 101.92 cm (50 1/8 x 40 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    54.596

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • View of Beacon Street from Boston Common

    about 1923
    George Benjamin Luks (American, 1866–1933)

    Description

    By the late nineteenth century, concern arose that city children had insufficient access to the outdoors. The Playground Association of America, founded in 1906, was dedicated to promoting parks and recreation for urban children. George Luks’s “View of Beacon Street from Boston Common” illustrates this goal: two beautifully dressed young girls, accompanied by their governess, walk their dog in Boston Common, a large park in the center of the city. Although the common had been established in the seventeenth century for the communal pasturing of cows, by the nineteenth century it was an oasis of nature in the midst of the city.
    Best known for his gritty images of street life in New York’s poorer districts, Luks painted more prosperous people and neighborhoods when he visited Boston from 1922 to 1923. He was a guest of Margarett Sargent, a cousin of the artist John Singer Sargent. Wealthy and socially prominent, Margarett Sargent had studied drawing and painting with Luks in New York. Because she was his guide to Boston, Luks became familiar with the more affluent areas of the city, such as Beacon Street and the adjacent Boston Common. Behind the girls who are enjoying fresh air and exercise in the park, Luks painted the graceful bow fronts of the early nineteenth-century townhouses on Beacon Street, architectural features popular in Boston and almost unknown in New York.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Inscription

    Lower right: George Luks

    Provenance

    The artist; Mr. and Mrs. Quincy Adams Shaw McKean, Boston, about 1923; to MFA, 1960, purchase.

    Credit Line

    Emily L. Ainsley Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    92.07 x 77.15 cm (36 1/4 x 30 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    60.538

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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    Classifications

    Object accessories, Pedestals

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  • Child in Rocking Chair

    1876
    E. L. George (American, 19th century)

    Description

    Puzzling, delightful, and slightly disconcerting, this small painting is signed “E. L. George,” but nothing has yet been discovered about the artist. The extremely precise style of the image enhances its almost surreal quality. George was clearly concerned with perspective, striving to create a believable sense of recession into depth through the lines of the floor and the diminutive size (compared to the child) of the cat, the clock, and the oval portraits on the bare wall. Other elements are more difficult to explain: the giant strawberries next to the child, for example, and the view through an open door of a cupboard or pantry with unexpectedly empty shelves. In contrast to the rather generalized rendering of most objects in the painting, the overlarge face of the child is highly specific both in its expression and in the careful delineation of features. This suggests the influence of photography, perhaps even a photographic source. And the child’s worried appearance-possibly derived from the solemn expressions people assumed when having their photographs taken in this era-distinguishes this portrait from most contemporary images of children, which generally show their subjects as being cheerful and carefree.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Inscription

    Lower left: E L George/18[70?]

    Provenance

    The artist; Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I., 1958; to MFA, 1962, gift of Maxim Karolik.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Maxim Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    38.42 x 33.02 cm (15 1/8 x 13 in.)

    Accession Number

    62.272

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Margaret Gilmore

    about 1845
    Erastus Salisbury Field (American, 1805–1900)

    Description

    Erastus Salisbury Field is one of America’s best known and most admired folk painters. At the end of his life, an article appeared in a newspaper from central Massachusetts, where he lived, praising his portraits. The account indicated that they were as “nearly correct as can well be made in oil, and give to posterity faithful ideas of the personal appearance of their ancestors” (“Greenfield Gazette and Courier,” June 9, 1900). During the 1830s, there was such a demand for Field’s work among middle-class patrons in his area that he developed a formula of quick brushwork, standard poses, and a limited number of decorative elements (such as gaily painted floors) that enabled him to complete a portrait in a single day. However, beginning in the 1840s, the increased popularity of daguerreotypes (an early form of photography) threatened the market for his portraits. This painting, of Field’s niece Margaret Gilmore, was one of his most ambitious and was sent to the 1845 annual fair of the American Institute of the City of New York to demonstrate his superior skills and to appeal, perhaps, to more upscale patrons.
    The painting is unusually large for Field’s single-figure portraits and shows the sitter nearly life-size and close to the picture plane. Margaret’s pose is rigid and conventional, and her body inaccurately drawn, but the carefully chosen and brightly colored clothes and furnishings give the painting great appeal. Her dress, with its square neckline, high waist, and puffy sleeves, was the height of fashion in the late 1830s. By the mid 1840s, this style had become popular among the middle class. The ropes of pearls around Margaret’s neck and bust and the gay rainbow-colored fan she holds were also sought-after fashion accessories that advertised the wearer’s good taste. The table and painted floor cloth were comfortable middle-class furnishings and appear in a number of Field’s portraits. But in place of the painted chair in which he usually posed his sitters, here he introduced a high-style upholstered chair with a curved back outlined by a carved scale motif popularized by the French-born furniture maker Charles Lannuier. The presentation of his subject’s character was calculated to please: the books remind the viewer that Margaret is diligent and well educated; her pleasant expression conveys her good nature; and the crouching cat (who appears in a number of Field’s portraits of young girls, alluding to their kindness to pets) also indicates her amiability.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Provenance

    The artist; Mr. and Mrs. Hilliker, Shelton, Conn., until about 1949; Mr. and Mrs. Stephen S. Racz, about 1955; with Israel Sack, New York; to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I., 1960; to MFA, 1964, bequest of Maxim Karolik.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Maxim Karolik

    Details

    Dimensions

    137.48 x 86.68 cm (54 1/8 x 34 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    64.451

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Phoebe Drake

    about 1815
    Attributed to Abraham Tuthill (American, 1776–1843 American)

    Description

    Abraham Tuthill was born on Long Island, New York. His first portraits, painted when he was twenty-two, were awkward and primitive. Determined to improve his technique, Tuthill went first to New York City and then to London, where he acquired some rudimentary skills during a period of study with the distinguished artist Benjamin West. He subsequently spent some thirty-five years (between 1808 and 1843) traveling through upstate New York painting portraits that-like this one-are a mixture of the sophisticated and the naive.
    Almost nothing is known about Phoebe Drake, the charming subject of this portrait, though her clothing and the handsome furnishings of the room in which she is posed suggest her family was well-to-do. She wears gold earrings, a hairdo of tightly wound curls, and bright red shoes that peek out from beneath her French-style dress, all the height of fashion. To remind us that she is a child, not a grown woman-or perhaps because the artist was not so skilled at drawing objects to scale-she stands next to a cloth-covered table that is nearly as tall as she is. As Tuthill painted her, Phoebe’s arms are unnaturally long; her dress, strongly outlined, seems almost two-dimensional; her facial features are stylized. But despite the artist’s provincial painting style, by showing Phoebe with a frank and direct gaze, he creates the impression of an appealing, spunky child.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Provenance

    The artist; Mrs. Fannie Currier; to Nancy Currier, her granddaughter, Chestnut Hill, Mass., about 1959-1961; to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I., 1961; to MFA, 1964, bequest of Maxim Karolik.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Maxim Karolik

    Details

    Dimensions

    122.4 x 91.5 cm (48 3/16 x 36 in.)

    Accession Number

    64.462

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Tuckered Out —The Shoeshine Boy

    about 1888
    John George Brown (American (born in England), 1831–1913)

    Description

    John George Brown made childhood his primary subject. At first he painted middle-class country children. In the 1870s, he switched to poor city children, who populated urban streets in increasing numbers as immigrant and rural families seeking jobs flocked to the cities. Brown became known for his depiction of bootblacks, the street urchins who made a few pennies by polishing shoes. As in “Tuckered Out-The Shoeshine Boy,” he showed them in tattered clothing but clean, well-fed, and healthy. Brown’s paintings allowed his patrons (mostly successful businessmen) to disregard the wretched conditions in which these children lived. The artist presented the bootblacks as young entrepreneurs about to begin their rags-to-riches climb in American society. Paintings like this were the pictorial equivalent of the immensely popular “Ragged Dick” stories, written in the late nineteenth century by New York novelist Horatio Alger. In Alger’s stories, disadvantaged children exhibit pluck and determination that enables them to rise from horrible poverty to wealth and respectability.
    Born in England, Brown came to New York in 1853, working in a glass factory and painting portraits before turning to genre paintings. He served as vice president of the National Academy of Design, to which he had been elected in 1863. Brown’s sentimental images of poor but pretty children earned him many patrons eager to overlook the ravages of urban poverty, and he became a wealthy man.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Inscription

    Lower left: J.G. Brown N.A./Copyright.

    Provenance

    The artist; Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I.; to MFA, 1964, bequest of Maxim Karolik.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Maxim Karolik

    Details

    Dimensions

    61.59 x 40.96 cm (24 1/4 x 16 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    64.467

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Robert Gibbs at 4 1/2 Years

    1670
    Freake-Gibbs painter

    Description

    Not long after Boston was settled, a wealthy merchant named Robert Gibbs commissioned three paintings of his young children. They are among the finest of the few extant portraits made in New England in the seventeenth century. The artist who painted Margaret Gibbs [1995.800], the eldest at seven, and her brothers—Robert, aged four and a half, and Henry, aged one and a half (Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, Charleston, West Virginia)—is unknown. However, it is thought that the same artist created likenesses of John and Elizabeth Freake and their baby Mary (in two portraits now at the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts) in 1674. The artist is thus known as the Freake-Gibbs painter and is considered one of the most skilled portraitists of the seventeenth-century colonies, possessing an exceptional sense of design and an admirable feel for color. Probably trained in provincial England, the Freake-Gibbs painter worked in a flat style derived from Elizabethan art, which emphasized color and pattern. As was customary for portraits at the time, the children appear like adults in pose and manner.

    Robert Gibbs, the father, was the fourth son of Sir Henry Gibbs. With Sir Henry’s title and estate destined to pass to his eldest son, Robert opted to make his own fortune in the colonies, emigrating from England to Boston in 1658. He married Elizabeth Sheafe of Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1660; in the same year, Elizabeth received a considerable inheritance from her grandfather. Two years later, the couple began construction of a sizeable home on Fort Hill; built at an estimated cost of £3,000, it was one of the most expensive houses in seventeenth-century Boston. Wealth also allowed the Gibbses to commission portraits of their three children in 1670. The depictions of their daughter and sons in all their finery are evidence of both the materialism and the prosperity of an early Boston family.

    Even though he is only four and a half years old, Robert appears to be a serious, composed, and mature person. He is dressed in a fashionable and richly ornamented gown with puffed sleeves, starched linen collar, and apron. The gold-trimmed false sleeves hanging down his back, visible at left, are a vestige of medieval dress and were also held by adults to steady toddlers as they learned to walk. He stands with one hand on his hip and the other holding his gloves, a typical gentleman’s pose.

    The pattern on the floor in both portraits is either black-and-white tile or, more likely, a wooden floor or floor cloth painted to simulate tiling. This checkerboard floor, the dark neutral background, and the inscription of the year and ages of the sitters are indications of seventeenth-century Dutch influence on English and subsequently American art. The period frame of the picture is painted black and is made from eastern white American pine, thus indicating that it was crafted in New England.

    This text was adapted and expanded by Cody Hartley from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, Amerikakaigakodomo no sekai [Children in American art], exh. cat. (Nagoya, Japan: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007), and from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting[http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Inscription

    Upper right: AE 4 1/2 Ao 1670

    Provenance

    By 1879, Sarah B. Hagar, Weston, Mass. Descended in the family to Anne Hagar Damon, great-great-great-granddaughter of the sitter; about 1926, by inheritance to her son, Theron J. Damon (b. 1883), Worcester, Mass.; 1969, sold by Theron J. Damon to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 19, 1969)

    Credit Line

    M. and M. Karolik Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    101.92 x 83.82 cm (40 1/8 x 33 in.)

    Accession Number

    69.1227

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Manning House (Gallery LG36)

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  • The Artist's Daughter in a Blue Gown

    1944
    Milton Clark Avery (American, 1885–1965)

    Description

    Milton Avery painted so many pictures of his daughter that in 1947 he was able to organize an entire exhibition entitled “My Daughter, March” around images of her. Fascinated with March from birth, Avery delighted in recording her growth and development and at the same time experimenting with his own style of painting. In “The Artist’s Daughter in a Blue Gown,” he used simplified and flattened forms, contrasting patterns, and soft colors to create a lyrical and serene image of twelve-year-old March. He employed the butt end of his brush to scratch lines in the thin wet paint that define the tiles on the floor and March’s hair, and drew her facial features, fingers, and toes with graphite (pencil). Fond of the image, Avery gave it to an artist friend.
    Primarily self-taught, Avery was influenced by the paintings of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. He developed his semiabstract style, incorporating flat planes of delicate color and finely balanced shapes, during the 1920s, when realism rather than modernist abstraction was ascendant in America. Because his style was out of fashion, Avery sold few paintings for two decades. His simplified forms and luminous color did, however, influence a group of younger Abstract Expressionist artists, including Mark Rothko and Adolf Gottleib. Eventually, he won recognition for the subtle colors and elegant patterns of his landscapes and figure studies.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet Comey, “Children in American Art” (Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, in Japanese).

    Inscription

    Lower right: Milton Avery/1944; Reverse: "Artist's Daughter in Blue Gown" by Milton Avery

    Provenance

    The artist; Mr. and Mrs. John Laurent, York, Maine; sold by Mr. and Mrs. Laurent to the MFA, November 1970.

    Credit Line

    Emily L. Ainsley Fund

    Copyright

    © Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

    Details

    Dimensions

    91.44 x 50.8 cm (36 x 20 in.)

    Accession Number

    1970.498

    Medium or Technique

    Oil and graphite on canvas

    Not On View

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  • The Copley Family

    about 1788
    John Singleton Copley (American, 1738–1815)

    Description

    From 1776 to 1777, after immigrating to England from America, Copley painted a monumental portrait of his family (now at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). He had preceded them to Europe by eighteen months, so the composition celebrated their happy reunion. It also demonstrated Copley’s skills as a portraitist. His paintings soon became sufficiently popular that he could sell prints made after them. Copley made this oil sketch twelve years after completing the original work, painting it in gray tones to guide the engraver. The prints proved to be good investments—not only did they sell, but they also inspired new commissions for paintings.

    Here, Mrs. Copley affectionately hugs John Jr., the future Lord Lyndhurst. At her side is daughter Mary; the self-possessed Elizabeth stands in front. Susanna, born in London, sits on the lap of Mrs. Copley’s father, Richard Clarke. Standing behind his family and elegantly dressed, Copley portrays himself as a sophisticated gentleman recently returned from visiting the principal cities and places of interest in Europe. His daughters wear frocks tied loosely with sashes, a new fashion for children. Such dresses were not scaled-down versions of adult attire but were designed to allow freedom of movement, in keeping with new theories about the nature of childhood. Copley updated several aspects of his original portrait to conform to current fashion: he changed his wife’s hairdo and gown and altered the settee from the rococo to the newly popular neoclassical style.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet L. Comey, Amerikakaigakodomo no sekai [Children in American art], exh. cat. (Nagoya, Japan: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007).

    Provenance

    About 1788, the artist, London, England; by 1802, to the artist's daughter, Elizabeth Copley (Mrs. Gardiner Greene), Boston [1]; by 1852, to the artist's granddaughter, Martha Babcock Greene Amory (Mrs. Charles Amory, 1812-1880), Boston; by 1873, to the artist's granddaughter, Mary Copley Greene Amory (Mrs. James Sullivan Amory, (1817-1892), Brookline, Mass.; by 1915, by descent to her grandson, Ingersoll Amory (1869-1921), Boston; by 1939, by descent to his granddaughter, Mrs. John McAndrew (Betty Amory Bartlett, born 1906), Wellesley, Mass.; 1974, to her cousins, Daniel Amory, Portland, Me., and Robert Amory, Cambridge, Mass.; 1977, partial purchase and gift of Daniel Amory and Robert Amory to the MFA. (Accession date: December 15, 1977) [1] Mrs. Copley wrote to her daughter, Mrs. Greene in December, 1802, "We shall be happy in the pleasure it affords you and the rest of our dear friends in America. It contains the best likeness of my departed and dearly valued father."

    Credit Line

    Henry H. and Zoe Oliver Sherman Fund and Gift of Daniel and Robert Amory

    Details

    Dimensions

    52.07 x 64.77 cm (20 1/2 x 25 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1977.775

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Norma and Roger Alfred Saunders Gallery (Gallery 128)

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  • The Granddaughter

    1885
    Francis Davis Millet (American, 1846–1912)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower left: F.D. Millet./1885

    Provenance

    The artist; with Arlington Art Gallery, New York; with Anderson Galleries, New York, "Arlington Gallery Collection Sale," November 11, 1926, lot 108; with William Doyle Galleries, New York, sale, April 1, 1981, lot 82; to MFA, 1981, purchase.

    Credit Line

    Charles H. Bayley Picture and Painting Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    79.37 x 123.19 cm (31 1/4 x 48 1/2 in.)

    Accession Number

    1981.77

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Lorraine and Alan Bressler Gallery (Gallery 222)

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  • The Lincoln Children

    1845
    Susan Catherine Moore Waters (American, 1823–1900)

    Description

    Many folk artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth century were women (though few of their names have come down to us), who created objects for domestic use-for instance, quilts, embroidered pictures, and watercolor memorials. Susan Waters, however, is unusual for having painted portraits for a living, and especially for traveling from town to town in search of commissions, a mode of working more often chosen by men.

    Waters’s only artistic training came during her years at a female seminary in Friendsville, Pennsylvania, which she first attended at age fifteen. She took up portraiture about 1843, when her husband became ill and unable to support the family. Waters is known to have been active as an artist for only about three years, painting the local citizenry in southern New York State. In the 1840s she specialized in portraits of children, and this image of three of the twelve children of Otis Lincoln, an innkeeper from Newark Valley (near Binghamton), New York, is widely regarded as one of her finest achievements. The three little girls (Laura Eugenie, age nine, Sara, age three, and Augusta, age seven) are arranged in a pyramid. They are shown in fancy dresses, ornamented with eyelet and lace. The girls hold pieces of fruit and a book, common attributes in mid-nineteenth-century portraits of children and meant to advertise their sweetness and their attentiveness at school. The handsome furnishings (including an expensive ingrain carpet), the pretty plants on a stand, and even the charming puppy with its neatly aligned paws combine to create a pleasing image of domestic stability and comfort. The intense expressions of the children, on the other hand, give the painting a startling directness.

    Shortly after finishing The Lincoln Children, Susan Waters apparently retired from painting. She resurfaced some thirty years later as a painter of animal subjects and achieved modest success with sentimental pictures of kittens and baby chicks. None of them equaled the ambition and vividness of her early folk portraits, and it is these for which she is most admired today.

    This text was adapted from Davis, et al., MFA Highlights: American Painting (Boston, 2003) available at www.mfashop.com/mfa-publications.html.

    Provenance

    The artist; descended in family of Dr. Otis Lincoln, father of the sitters, to Mrs. E. Norman Merithew; with Mapes Auctions, Vestal, NY, 1981; with Peter Tillou Galleries, Litchfield, Conn., 1981; to MFA, 1981, purchase.

    Credit Line

    Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection, by exchange

    Details

    Dimensions

    114.93 x 127.63 cm (45 1/4 x 50 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    1981.438

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Marion Hiller Fenno at Nine as Mandolinata

    1887–88
    Edmund Charles Tarbell (American, 1862–1938)

    Description

    Marion Hiller Fenno at Nine as Mandolinata, painted by Tarbell early in his career, shows a young girl dressed for a tableau vivant that was performed at James Arthur Beebe’s home in Boston during the winter of 1887–88. Fenno, the daughter of an affluent wool merchant, is dressed as La Mandolinata, a character from popular poems and songs of the day who sang serenades and accompanied herself on the mandolin. The Fenno and Beebe families, who lived in townhouses near each other in the wealthy Back Bay section of Boston, organized this tableau vivant as part of a social gathering. Just as artists—especially in England—had since the eighteenth century portrayed professional actors dressed for their roles on stage, the Fenno family wished Tarbell to render their daughter in her role as an amateur actress in a tableau vivant.
    Tarbell received the commission shortly after he returned to Boston from studying in France, and the skills he had learned are apparent in his portrayal of Fenno’s hands on the mandolin and his rendering of her costume and the fur rug. Tarbell [23.532] later became an important Impressionist artist and an influential teacher at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet L. Comey, Amerikakaigakodomo no sekai [Children in American art], exh. cat. (Nagoya, Japan: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007).

    Inscription

    Lower right: E.C. Tarbell.

    Provenance

    1887-88, the parents of the sitter, Edward Nicoll and Ellen Bradlee Fenno, Boston and Falmouth, Mass.; by descent to the sitter, Marion Fenno Bell; 1967, by descent to her cousin, J. Brooks Fenno, Chestnut Hill, Mass.; by descent to his wife, Virginia Fenno Hopkins, Chestnut Hill; 1984, gift of J. Brooks Fenno to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 26, 1986)

    Credit Line

    Gift of J. Brooks Fenno

    Details

    Dimensions

    107.31 x 76.52 cm (42 1/4 x 30 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1984.796

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Jan and Warren Adelson Gallery (Gallery 221)

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  • Francis Malbone and his Brother Saunders

    about 1773
    Gilbert Stuart (American, 1755–1828)

    Description

    Gilbert Stuart completed this portrait of the Malbone brothers early in his career. Although he had had little formal training, Stuart seems to have studied the work of John Singleton Copley and learned to render the fine furniture and apparel that were indicative of social status. He portrayed the brothers as future businessmen, wearing stylish, well-tailored frock coats made of expensive fabrics with covered buttons. Francis, about fourteen years old, on the left, wears a fashionable frilled shirt, the neckcloth held in place by a twisted heart brooch—popular in the colonies at the time—and Saunders, about nine years old, sports a black ribbon tie. On the table between them are an elaborate ink well, paper, quill pen, and several books, advertising their potential as successful men of affairs. While Stuart imparted some youthful softness to their faces, he emphasized their maturity, showing them as intelligent, thoughtful, and serious. As predicted by this portrait, Francis and Saunders became prominent merchants, and Francis was later elected to the United States Senate.

    This text was adapted from Carol Troyen and Janet L. Comey, Amerika kaiga kodomo no sekai [Children in American art], exh. cat. (Nagoya, Japan: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2007).

    Provenance

    About 1773, the sitter, Francis Malbone (1759-1809). By descent in the family to Francis Malbone Breese (b. 1837); by 1916, by descent to his niece, Lucy Randolph Blodget, Scarsdale, N. Y.; by 1945, by descent to her son, Francis Malbone Blodget (b. 1887), Greenwich, Conn.; by 1976, by descent to his son, Francis Malbone Blodget, Jr., Rochester, N. Y. and Wolfeboro, N. H.; 1991, partial gift and partial purchase from Francis Malbone Blodget, Jr. to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 26, 1991)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Francis Malbone Blodget, Jr. and funds donated by a Friend of the Department of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, and Emily L. Ainsley Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    91.44 x 111.76 cm (36 x 44 in.)

    Accession Number

    1991.436

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Marilyn and John F. Keane Family Gallery (Gallery 127)

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